Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ category

A BRIEF COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

June 28, 2017

Time for a Brief Commercial Announcement!     I do that once in a while,  here,  when something really unexpectedly great turns up at my house.    I mean,  everyone has to buy new things once in a while,  and you expect it to be “good”  and new and working well, and you’re happy your old thing has been replaced.

But once in a while,  you just want to share something really outstanding.

Here it is:

lawn mower

One surprisingly wonderful  lawnmower!   Now, I love my push mower,  the old fashioned kind,  quiet, non-motorized,  efficient,  and . .  .  a good workout.

I liked having a gas-powered mower —

—    but every year there are the usual problems:  change spark plugs, which are trouble when you don’t;  tune-up,  trouble when you don’t;   gasoline issues;   NOISE;   and then eventually it gets so hard to start,  even when all the other things are taken care of.

A gas-powered lawnmower is so  . . .   last century!

21st Century —

Lawn box

Son arrived this morning at just the right time to open the box,  assemble it,  which took very little time and effort  ( I could have done it!);  charge the battery,  which took very little time;  and then try it out.

Lawn and John 270

(Sorry for the angle;   I was leaving, in a  hurry.)

Son gave it his imprimatur.    The lawnmower created a smooth, velvety green carpet.    It was easy to use,  intuitive,  and very quiet,  about like having a summer fan going.

They’ve been making these battery-operated  (cordless) lawnmowers for a while,  but I think they’ve got it right now.

Thank you to the company for making this.

Thank you to Son for trying it out and showing me how to use it.

Thank you to Hubbie for his  strict financial planning that made it possible for his “little old lady of a wife”    to purchase a new lawnmower when it was  needed.

Thank you,  Our Dear Lord,  for watching over me and letting it turn out this way.  If even the smallest sparrow is watched over in its little life and death,  then how much more are we loved and cared for –  in the smallest of details!

serveimage    Matthew 6:26  –   “Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them.   Are not you of much more value than they?”

______________________________________

 

God is the Source of Love.   God is Love Itself.

Advertisements

AN UNSERIOUS SERIOUS EVE

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve.  The night before Thanksgiving.  Dinner preparations are done.   

I just want to be unserious for a while.   Because these November dates are getting too serious for me, and I’m falling into one of my funks.        Nov.3,  Nov. 11, Nov. 19,  another Nov. 19, Nov. 22,  Nov.26 . . .   Hubbie’s death.    Then Advent begins in just a few days.  Purple.  Penance.    Too many births and deaths.  And I’ve forgotten the exact birthday of my friend’s little girl,  way across the country,  but it’s in November and I miss sending her a birthday card. 

gloomy-cloud

There’s no reason for me to be in a funk.     There’s nothing “wrong.”   

bar-thorns

So here’s a trivial nice thing floating in my mind somewhere;   it’s  not able to anchor down,  not enough to make life’s serious things go away,  but . . .   it’s there in my mind.

I came home one day and found a box on my doorstep.  Now what did I order?

1-onmy-doorstep

Dinner?   No, I didn’t.      Unless my fingers   slipped on the keyboard . .  .   It could be my next-door neighbors . . .  .

I took it into the house and put it on my  kitchen counter.

2-the-thanks

A gift and a thank-you card —  from the guys who gave me a new driveway!!!!

I wrote about these guys…  I told you they were a wonderful crew!!

3-cutting-my-driveway

If you’re local —  the company name is Hayhoe!

I love popcorn!   I could have popcorn for dinner!    I’ve had popcorn for dinner!!!

3-dinner-popcorn

But not for Thanksgiving dinner!!

I can tell you the Pumpkin Spiced Caramel  is delicious!    Haven’t. . .   uh . . .  tried the others.

I told you –   my dinner preparations are already made.

WALK WITH ME

January 23, 2016

 

I don’t know what made me visit The Spruce Tunnel this day.  It had been a nice but challenging class this morning, but I was tired now  and very hungry,  and it was a cold, crisp day in the Far North.   But I found myself making the stop, thinking the  fresh air would feel good.

So unexpectedly I stopped the car and started off  down the familiar entrance pathway to the Tunnel.

SAMSUNG

No skis this time, even though it was winter.   And there were plenty of other  footprints to show others had  left their skis at home too.

SAMSUNG

I once did a photo-study of all the patterns made by boot footprints in The Spruce Tunnel.  Fascinating.   Sometimes you find interesting things when you look down, when you stop and focus on what’s very close to you.

I was wearing my warm fur-lined “short boots.”    But my friends say they look like bedroom slippers.

SAMSUNG

Well, hmmmph!   I bought them from the Boot section of the shoe store.   They’re boots!   They keep my feet warm!

SAMSUNG
I took a deep breath, feeling the (cold) oxygen fill my lungs.  It felt good all over.   I thought:  I could have been driving the car right now –  breathing stuffy, heated air.  I could have been home by now:  breathing dry air.   This was nicer.

I looked way up at some of the deciduous trees, bare now in midwinter.   Kept my eyes up there,  just like a kid would do,   until I was done looking.

It was peaceful, but it wasn’t quiet.     There were many interesting sounds:    little peeps, squeaks,  creaks,   lots of bird sounds.   “Someone”  was scolding me  as I walked through.  Maybe my peace was  disturbing his peace;  maybe a bird, maybe an irritated  squirrel.    Sorry, little critter –  I wasn’t intimidated;  you just sounded funny.

But I share this park with other living things.   I know.

SAMSUNG

I saw an interesting log.

SAMSUNG

Nobody’s home, I guess.

Questions, questions, questions.   What was I doing here?   What made me come?

And then another unexpected, decision:   of all the pathways I could have chosen to enter the Tunnel,  I chose this one, rather than my usual eastern approach.

SAMSUNG

I was entering now a deeper stillness,  when the “peaceful feeling”  becomes a little eerie.    A  peaceful feeling becomes a spiritual feeling.   The many duties and concerns that had kept my mind so busy fell completely away, and my mind seemed to become clear and open.  I thanked God for . . .   I don’t know.  I just felt thankful.

Whatever impulse had driven me here was a good one.

And then I discovered “why”  I had come.   An unexpected purpose.   And just
as I was wondering about the wisdom of being here, alone, in a great big park
with no other person in sight,  and with no protection (whatever that would
be),   I heard  two people up ahead.

It was a man and a woman.  They were enjoying the park together.  They seemed happy, although they looked cold.    When I got closer, and smiled to them,  they asked me if I knew how much further they had to go to get to the end of the trail.   “Not far at all.”

If I had entered the Tunnel from the other way,  I wouldn’t have seen them.  So . . .  glad I could help.

8.5 two eaglesBut then our conversation began.   The lady,  the wife as it turned out,  came over to me to show me the beautiful pictures of a pair of eagles that she had recently taken.  And nearby!    The eagles were obviously a happy couple too, impersonating a pair of lovebirds.  How interesting.  I was impressed.  Such an image of majestic strength –  and yet —  life, love, bonding, babies;  just like all life on this earth.    “Abundant life!”   “Be fruitful and multiply.”

The lady went on about  her pursuit of certain birds for further picture taking, an obviously well-liked hobby of hers;  and how often she just seemed to be “led”  to the location of certain interesting or rare birds.

I learned about their motorcycle riding and an accident, one of seven, was it?   And how they were so protected that they each had only bumps and bruises,  even though their motorcycles were trashed.  And how the accident led to the fortuitous discovery of impending blindness.

They both shared many other things, all the while expressing their thanksgiving to God.  It was evident that they lived their Christian faith daily,  at every moment.

I felt a little shy, and I shyly asked them if I could take their picture.

SAMSUNG
I wanted to remember them, to remember that this delightful encounter had really  happened.

Then it was time to go.   Just standing there had made us all feel the cold.   We said our good-byes and “God bless you”s.

There was the end of the Tunnel waiting for me, and I took one last look at the tall black spruces:

SAMSUNG

And further way up high:

SAMSUNG

The Spruce Tunnel is indeed a place of great beauty, deep feeling, and lofty thoughts.     I’m so glad I had made my unplanned stop here.    I felt different – and better – after the chance encounter with that happy couple.  Their bright happy spirits lifted me up and made a happy walk in the park even happier!

I’ll never see them again,  but I’ll always remember their effect on me.  And I hope I’ll try to have the same positive, unselfconscious faith-filled effect on others.

We who are believers  manifest Christ for the world around us.  We are witnesses to His love and to His Resurrection.   We show the world what Jesus is like.

Or so we should.

Leaving the Tunnel,  walking out into the wide world  —

SAMSUNG

Finding my way back into the “normal” world —   where I hope I’ll take this experience with me and I hope it will change me, just a little.

 

 

A NOVEMBER PAUSE

November 27, 2015

A brief pause for all of us  . . .

praying man silhouette

 

. . . .   a brief time to give thanks to Our Creator.

 

May the Giving Thanks have been a good one for you.

 

A PAUSE (13th SUNDAY P.P.)

September 8, 2014

Too much is swirling around in my life right now, so I needed to take a break.  I don’t want to  write too much, though I fear I will.

Karlskirche Austria

I took my break here today  (in a way);  Karlskirche, somewhere in Austria.  It was built for all of us, for everyone in the whole world.  That’s what “universal” means – for everyone.  You can enter freely, sit in the back, if you want,  let other people do their own “thing” in there too, while you enjoy the beauty and experience the immense space that quiets your mind and enlarges your own personal perspective.
So I didn’t exactly go to Austria today.   Not exactly.   I went down some steps into a “basement”   where the air was stuffy,  the carpeting was old, and the chairs were of the “folding”  variety.     But in the front, front and center,  the altar was beautiful, as beautiful as we could make it, because our attention would be focused on the exact same thing as that beautiful Austrian cathedral, front and center.

water  I went to my familiar place today and knelt while others were coming in and kneeling too.  I composed my mind.  I read a familiar Psalm,  Psalm 62 * and treasured these words:   “O God, thou art my God;  earnestly  I seek Thee;  my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh longs for Thee like a dry and parched land without water. . . .”

 

Then everyone had come and things began, and soft male voices rose gently in song,  prayers at the altar began,  and then the Asperges  for us –   cool water, fresh air comes our way,  but more than just a refreshment,  a spiritual presence, a spiritual cleansing;  not just “water” but water joined with Intention:  God’s intention to cleanse,  our intention to receive his cleansing.

“My soul thirsts for thee…like a dry and parched land….”    Things change with the cleansing Asperges, things change and become sharper and crisper, cleaner and brighter,  and as we continue, everyone there — on their knees, sometimes standing,  sometimes sitting —   is one in the same intention.

We were reminded today of the Ten Lepers who were cleansed  (healed)  by Jesus, when they sought Him (earnestly I seek Thee)  and He agreed:  they needed healing,  and He did heal them.    And then, as the familiar story goes,  they left to go find their priests who would declare them ritually clean.  But one came back.    That one had experienced the cleansing and was so full of gratitude that he came back to express his thanks to Jesus, the Great Physician.

Today,  amidst the sights and sounds, the young torch bearers walking in so solemnly, the incense,  the singing,  the bells, the intense silence,   the Elevation . .  .   I closed my eyes and saw that cathedral in Austria and felt myself become part of the universal Church, trying my best to give adequate thanks in the most beautiful way I could think of.

Those lepers of long ago, healed,  would return to their busy lives with all the cares and joys of living humans,  but first,  one of them  returned to give thanks.

Deo gratias.

 
*   (or Psalm 63 in the Jewish numbering used by Protestants)

 

 

 

 

 

LINGERING LEFTOVERS FOR THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

November 30, 2013

 

No photos –  you have better images in your own mind –

So how was that “shockingly expensive”  turkey that I wrote about last time?   It was good:  delicious, and it didn’t upset our digestive tracts, as other turkeys do.  So we can face all the leftovers with confidence…and those good leftovers allow that Day to linger on….

We did the ordinary things on Thanksgiving Day, with additionally, for Son and me, we “remembered”  — all day we remembered what we were doing three years ago:  the five-hour ambulance ride home with Hubbie from his long hospital stay; a wonderful young lady-friend who unlocked the house for the Hospice people to come in, helped them move furniture, set up the hospital bed so all would be ready for our arrival….and later she so kindly provided a little Thanksgiving meal for us, slipping quietly into the background because she knew “we’d want to be alone…”

And then that next – surprising – day when Hubbie slipped away.

When the Head of the Household is stripped from the family,  then those who are left are left to be themselves, as individuals,  with no Head to revolve around.

We are, now, who we are, by ourselves.   We are what we are.    We are what we do with what we’ve been given.

And, oh,  how much we have been given.   So we come full circle back to this Thanksgiving Day, too.

I randomly came across a Thanksgiving message from Archbishop Chaput.   He pointed out that when you truly feel grateful,  when you truly give thanks,  you are acknowledging your dependence upon the One God who is there, and Who permits good things.

Okay, just one little picture. praying man silhouette

We often see stereotypical little scenes of people around the Thanksgiving table, saying out loud what they are thankful for.  It’s usually:  I’m thankful for… my family … my country .. my health …  my food ….

All permitted for us — all given to us — by the Good God.

Don’t waste this weekend!!   And leftovers help the meaning to linger on…..

GAUDETE WEEKEND

December 12, 2011

Rejoice, Christendom!!!    During these weeks of serious preparation to ready ourselves for the birth of the Infant King of all kings, we are instructed to remember that we are preparing, studying, fasting  because our Savior comes to us, to be with us forever.    Rejoice (Gaudete) !!

The Christ Candle in the wreath above is marked by one happy, joyous rose-colored candle amongst the somber purple ones.    And the vestments are also rose:

Even as we take part in the One Holy Sacrifice that the Infant King came for — sacrificing Himself on our behalf —  the rose color again directs our hearts to joy, for we cannot save ourselves,  but it is  the work of Christ who comes to us.

I didn’t realize it, but what a perfect weekend to have held our Christmas party.   What a fun party it was!   How wonderful to rejoice with rooms full of people who are  rejoicing together in this season.  

I can tell you that it was a busy, noisy, funny, friendly, loving, and charmingly quirky party!    We had a plentiful variety of great food, and for a potluck, it was a pretty well-balanced menu.

Here is the start of our food, but five minutes after this photo, there was hardly room to put any more.

Spotlighted is the Trophy-Winning prize chili – in two versions –  mildly hot and not too hot.

 

After much merry eating, I directed everyone to prepare some more drinks and take their punch, soda, iced tea, glögg, or hot cocoa into the television room.   A special movie awaited.

The movie was I Am David, an intensely dramatic film about a young boy’s escape from a Communist concentration camp and his attempt to find goodness in this world, a goodness that he had never experienced before.     I hoped that we all saw ourselves somewhere in this movie.

I peeked in and saw them all watching very closely:

Then I joined them.  We didn’t seem to mind the close quarters.   It was the kind of a movie that made you feel you wanted to be close to friends and to take solace in whatever goodness David was finding.

The ending was intense too.     Intensely satisfying.      I’m hoping this movie strengthens our resolve  to be God’s instruments to bring faith and goodness into this world,  and to rejoice in the love God gives us to bring to each other.

Well, our leave-taking was a joyous one too.    We wished each other a hearty Merry Christmas — and a good-bye until next year!

Gaudete Sunday!    Gaudete weekend!   Deo gratias!!

 

SWEET SADNESS – SAD SWEETNESS

November 24, 2011

Ummm….

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.    I wish for you that your thanks-giving this year is deeper and richer than ever before.   Thoughtful times will do that for you.    Life will do that to you.

I have no idea how I feel.   Sweetness and Sadness.  It’s an odd combination of feelings.    It seems like they shouldn’t appear together,  but it is our condition in this world,  the human condition,  the fallen world, that often brings this odd combination together.  I know my giving of thanks to God is a little more thoughtful now, deeper and richer, taught by all we’ve experienced this past year.

Life changes.  Plans change.   You have to go in a new direction. If you’re the one who is still alive, you keep going forward.   Follow the arrow.

Cooper, Daughter, and Son-In-Law were supposed to visit us this week.  We were supposed to come together as a family on this Thanksgiving; to circle the wagons, so to speak;   to remember last year and to hold on to each other this year.   Our  little family table would be missing one, but gaining another.  Sad and Sweet.   Their plans changed, though, and I won’t be seeing them this week.   Cooper’s daddy has a severely hurting back.  I’m very worried for him.   It was the right thing to do for them to stay home.

Skyping with Grandma:

Happy baby, getting to be a big boy now.   Cooper Kenneth, carrying both names.   Sad thought, and sweet.   One year has passed.

One year has passed, from this scene.   But Son and I will have a Thanksgiving.   What we see on our Thanksgiving table today will be overlaid with what we saw here last year this time.   Hubbie came home.   Hubbie was sent home.   For one more day of life.

We have so much to be thankful for.  

We will remember all the sweetness of God’s providence throughout this past unexpectedly abnormal year, but we are assured that Our Lord understood us:  “For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities. . . .”   (Hebrews 4:15)     Another version puts it like this:  “For we have not a High Priest who is unable to feel for us in our weaknesses. .  .”    I like those words too.    We were not alone, not at all.

Thank you.    Thank you.   Thank you to all of you who have supported us with your kind thoughts, good wishes, understanding, and prayers.  They have been a balm to us.

A new, happy, stronger year will be beginning.  

REORIENTATION OR LIFE AS USUAL?

September 11, 2011

This new insight has been rattling around in my head all day today:

Here’s a Sunday School picture of today’s Reading….  I usually like more realistic  pictures, but this one has some additional elements that I was thinking about.    The Gospel Reading concerned the Ten Lepers whom Jesus healed, and the return of the Samaritan, back to Jesus, to give him thanks and praise.

The lessons are familiar to us:  We teach children about gratitude from this story;   we learn about obedience to the things Jesus tells us to do and we learn about the meaning of faith in what Jesus can do.

But in today’s sermon I heard this thought:   The Ten men were told to “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  Then, after that , as they went on their way in obedience, they were healed.    I don’t know;  if I had a terrible, fatal, disfiguring disease and I found myself cured,  I’d feel pretty happy and grateful.   Like the picture shows those men in the background.

Gratitude isn’t the only lesson to learn here.

The priests were a part of the culture of those days, and  familiar  to those ten men in their everyday lives.    There were certain protocols to follow if you think you might be cured of leprosy.  The priests would inspect carefully and then declare you cured,  or not.   And if cured, then there were certain rituals and sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.

And then with a whole lot of happiness and possibly life-long gratitude, the ten men could continue on with their lives, just as they had expected to before they had gotten sick.

But the one man didn’t do that.     Before he got to the priests in the Temple, he reversed himself and went back toward Jesus.   It’s this reversal that reoriented his whole life towards Jesus.

Did he realize that the other priests could only confirm his cure, but that Jesus was the One High Priest of God who had the power to not only affirm the cure but to also produce the cure?    Did he realize that his thanksgiving to God could be given to the Son of God standing before him?

What he perceived, however veiled was his understanding,  is that Jesus is the Source of our Light and Life and of our health and safety, body and soul.     All praise and glory and thanksgiving to our High Priest from Heaven.    This grateful ex-leper perceived that it’s a Whole New Day with the Son of God present among us.

If this tenth man had gone on to the other priests to offer his thanksgiving,   he would have been choosing  life as usual.    Instead, he chose to orient himself anew toward Jesus, Son of God, our Redeemer.

The thought rattling around in my head?    Every moment of every day I should be orienting myself toward Jesus, returning to Him, choosing to make Him my center,  as this man did;  otherwise it will be a whole, dreary, ordinary “life as usual.”

 

WHITE CHRISTMAS

December 12, 2010

The “scene” around here, this morning:

I haven’t been too enthusiastic about Christmas this year.   For one thing, it will be very different….   And I won’t be here, home, for Christmas anyway.    But when you wake up and this is the first thing you see, it kind of triggers Christmas feelings.

The Advent lights and candles are all in place, shining their delicate rose and violet brightness. 

A December snowstorm brings both beauty and excitement:

That’s what I can see out my kitchen doors.     As the hours pass now during this storm, sometimes we can’t even see across the pond.  The winds whip up the snow so that it’s like looking through thick fog, and everything is grayed out.  White-out, they call it.

So.     Nature is getting us ready for Christmas during this Advent season.    It’s Gaudete Sunday today –  the third Sunday of Advent, the one with the rose-colored candle.    Gaudete – Rejoice!   for Christmas is coming!

As I said in my last post,  we need to be driven by our wills, by our intellect, and not by our emotions.

We can actually choose to see beauty and know that the Author of beauty is here, probably rejoicing that we rejoice that Christmas comes.

And pleased that we give thanks that He has made us creatures of will and intellect who can perceive His beauty and give Him glory for it.

I wish you all the joy of His beauty this year.

the night after the night before

September 28, 2010

Found the balloons –

Not sure why all the other debris didn’t show up….

Oooooohhh….not quite ready for prime time.   I don’t know what happened to “the morning after the night before.”   I don’t remember the morning…   38 hours of constant steady motion and busyness….and it’s not over….

I mean to thank everyone for a wonderful birthday celebration this year.  Starting last week, my friends, my classes, the food, the presents, the cards, the e-mails, and the good wishes.   But what I remember most is all your smiles!  All – of – your – smiles!   I see each one and count myself a very lucky person.   A very lucky old person now – ha!

The family party  – with a call from San Francisco –  with the four of us will be very memorable, if only because we “did it our way” —  all day, spontaneous, enjoying what each hour offered.     For one thing, it’s nice to have a son who is not only an experienced chef, but a Meat Lover too!   Flat Iron Steaks,  Canadian Salmon, and orange roughy.

Also kind of nice to have a son that can at least GROW things in his own garden – things to eat.  I’m trying not to think of these as Charity Tomatoes,  especially after Son had  tasted one of my thumbnail size mini-tomatoes: 

That’s a lush bunch of basil behind those cheery looking tomatoes and a few concord grapes from the grape vine – very sweet and rich tasting.   I don’t think his grapes will make it into wine this year.

My thanks goes to the Bears too –

They knew what to do with a football — how great is that!   Your team is televised on your birthday — and they win!

The “party” was over about 3:00 a.m.    I’m thinking, if I get any older I won’t be able to have parties.   

I could go on with happy little details, but the things that make me happy are the small and precious things, and I’m sure you all have such things in your life so you know what I mean.  

There are things we are given to make us happy.   Our delight in them is thanksgiving to Our Lord.

Deo gratias.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED…

January 26, 2010

Yes, that’s me  ( a little while ago)  enjoying my reading!

I don’t actually remember a time when I didn’t know how to read.   I didn’t always know “all” the words, but I was always reading.    I still don’t know all the words.

Reading books is fun.  Selecting books is fun.   Receiving them in the mail is … sometimes full of funny surprises.

I had one of those funny surprises today, courtesy of the US Postal Service.    And speaking of not knowing all the words,  my “surprise” says:   NE VORBESTE and PARINTELE CLEPOAS and things like:  IAR PE CEI CE FAC MAI MULTE CASATORII…DECI, DUPA A DOUA NUNTA NU….

I hope I didn’t cuss at anyone just then, but I think the  man in the photo said it first and he doesn’t look like the cussing type.

Anyone know the language?

I had ordered a few little inexpensive paperbacks and some booklets for my classes.    What I received was a mangled package,  some of my books,   five of these strange volumes, and a wrinkled slip of paper with a printed apology from the post office.   “They are sorry and they hope I will retain my confidence in them in the future.”

I called the book company and had a little discussion with them.   They assure me that they don’t send out foreign language books.  We figured out what must have happened is a little “accident” in the postal sorting room and a few packages spilled open in  the “book rate” area.     The postal workers probably reassembled the packages as best they could and sent them on – with apologies.

So,   this is the man who wandered into my world from I know not where.   He seemed worth listening to until I saw the back of another of those books:I don’t know…..I’m not given to fanaticism, and that back wall makes me nervous.  Is this normal….in some places?   Maybe he’s a collector.   Or a collector in addition to….

Oh, well.   It’s fun to share your funny surprises.    And I think I must have done that today —   Someone somewhere is probably surprised to be reading instructions on how to use the Brown Scapular!     

Deo gratias!    And thanks for the books that I did get.

IN HIS HANDS

January 1, 2010

A GOOD THANKSGIVING TO ALL

November 26, 2009

A “minimal” setting today:   No tablecloth, no candles,  no serving dishes,  just the basics.    Mother, father, son, and son’s good friend.    Some homemade wine.    I asked for help “putting the dishes on the table” and next time I turned around she (son’s good friend) had made a charming invitation like this.   Thank you – and thank you for our flowers!

I want to wish a Good Thanksgiving to all my family and friends and readers, and to all those who work to protect us and help us.   I sincerely wish that the Good God fills your hearts with the grace of true gratitude for all we have been given.   

There is a kind of peace that comes with gratitude.   Job 1:21 records this:  “And he (Job) said, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go thither;  the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;  as it has pleased the Lord, so is it done.   Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Whatever we have to be grateful for came first from the hand of the Lord, and it is given to us for a while.    We came into this world – minimally, with not even the “clothes on our back.”    What is it that we think we have a right to?

Happiness is fleeting, so fleeting.  

The next verse,  Job 1:22 says that Job did no sin in thinking like this, there was no sin in what he said.    His heart was open, for whatever God will send.

I think that is where Thanksgiving begins.

GUARDIAN ANGEL ON THE JOB

November 21, 2009

It’s been a day of pleasant errands, but the lesson to keep in mind is:  Sometimes you can be so busy with your To Do list that you forget your Must Do list!First stop:   the thrice-yearly Used Book Sale at our local library.  Very successful!   Saw friends there and….and the books.  I can explain every one that came home with me….anyway, it doesn’t matter how many….I’m the one who collects book cases….

Next stop, The Wooden Skate Antique and Jewelry Shop.  It really looks like that cute little village in the upper left corner.   They’re having a sale and I was hoping to find an old rosary.  They were made so much more durable back when.   No luck…but “success” I suppose –  I didn’t buy anything else.

Next a trip to our friendly butcher who has now reserved an “organic, free-range, non-injected, locally grown” turkey for us.    Thanksgiving Dinner successfully planned.

Next, a stop at the annual Christmas Craft Show.   So much fun!   I got a few little gifts here  (photos NOT shown!) and I got a couple little fun things for me.These are pretty little zippered bags to put my cell phone in and my camera and my digital recorder so they won’t bash into each other when they’re all in my purse.    The Black Shiny Things are lumps of coal!   I’ll use them when I teach the parents’ group during Advent…..I mean, just for the sake of “history” – what we used to do to our naughty children on St. Nicholas Day.  But there’s a cute little poem that they came with.  It starts:  “Shame, shame, you’ve not been good!  No fancy gifts for you!”  

The big blue bag is for notecards in my purse.  I write good little quotes on notecards as well as conjugations of Greek verbs, etc., etc.  You know, stuff you want to keep looking at so you don’t forget them….

Speaking of forgetting…another ear-splitting reminder from the one who “is committed to ruling and governing me”  today.  (aka the Guardian Angel)This is where the craft sale was.  I forgot it was High Noon, and as I was walking   on that sidewalk  on my way to the Little Red Car, the Angelus Bells suddenly start ringing.    Ringing Out!   About 30 feet over my head.    With a smile, at first:  “In nomine Patri, et filii…”      But the bells kept getting louder and louder…by the time I got to “Ecce ancilla Domini”  I couldn’t think any further….Aaaargh!     Ecce me already!     I’m doing it!   I’m saying the prayer…Stop those bells!

But I really do like hearing those bells from my own home, a half a mile away.    I guess I’m the kind that needs a (loud) reminder of what they’re for, once in a while.  

I guess I’m really thankful for them.

And now…on to the Game!   It’s still Saturday!

MEMORIAL DAY – COMPLETION

May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009 would not be complete without the mention of the third war in the 20th century which a member of my family took part in.     

Viet Nam, 1968:

Drew 1968

What would you do if you were young, strong, and capable, and on the other side of the world?     You would be there;   you would do your duty;  and you would do the best soldiering you could, because that is what your country asked of you.

How many tens of thousands of good decent men were our soldiers in the years of the Viet Nam War!    How many of these men returned home  and became the good decent citizens of the second half of the 20th century!     They added their strength  and  ability to carry out their duties to our national character,  without drawing a lot of attention to themselves.    They are the  solid citizens  a nation can rely upon.

We didn’t know then that the Anti-American entertainment and news media would continue to show this war in the worst possible light.     Actual history provides the evidence that  when we allowed the Communists to overrun Southeast Asia, they did indeed murder the citizens and cruelly oppress the survivors.

I’ll never forget my surprise at hearing a North Vietnamese general say, in an interview long after the war, that all the North Vietnamese commanders knew that they had lost the war after the Tet Offensive.    They had given it their all, and the American soldiers were too tough for them.   He said they were all discussing how best to negotiate their own defeat — until they heard the big names in the Anti-American news media begin to talk about an American defeat.      This was a politically-motivated misrepresentation of what had just happened.  

Our Viet Nam Veterans soldiered on with the strength and  the will to win — until we told them not to.        They stand in a long line of those  who have been called on to fight to protect our country.   They make our daily freedoms possible.

Our Founding Fathers said we would have to always fight for these freedoms, against external enemies and enemies from within.    Thanks to God, Deo gratias, that so far we have won.

REMEMBERING

May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Among those  who served:       

Marine Dress Blues

We remember those who gave a portion of their lifetimes to be our soldiers, sailors, and Marines.   

I also like to  remember what they actually did as soldiers, sailors, and Marines,  during that portion of their lives that they served our country and stood ready to protect us civilians.   

Ask a veteran about boot camp, about training, about his MOS, about what he thought he might be called upon to do, about why he was trained to be ready to do it….about his buddies who didn’t make it.

Ask him how much he loves the country he protected with his readiness and  skills.   Ask him how much he loves to live in a time of general peace.

Marine uniform I am a daughter of a Marine.  I belong to this one.   Same man who was in his Dress Blues in the first photo.  I did ask him a lot of questions as I grew up.    I’d ask him even more if we were near enough to visit each other.     But he gave me his uniform, his medals, some documents and photos, and I cherish each one of them.   

I also cherish the freedom he and his friends gave me, through their efforts, to write a blog like this, and to contribute, freely, my point of view.     We have Peace — through their Strength.

A NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

April 12, 2009

lily-happy-easter1

HE IS RISEN!

Plilippians 2:8-11 –   “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross;  for which cause God also hath exalted Him and given Him a name which is above all names;  that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth;  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father”

John  10:28 – “And I give them life everlasting and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of the hand of my Father.”

LAETARE SUNDAY: HE FLED!

March 22, 2009

mountain-flee-300x2001

“He came unto His own, and His own…” either received Him not, or some of His own wanted Him dead, and in today’s Gospel, some of His own wanted to “take Him by force and make Him king.”

That is, there is always that group of people who would like to “force” the Truth into their own mold and create their own version of Jesus.

And so what did He do?      He fled….”fugit iterum in montem…”    The “fugit” is to flee, to run away from, to take flight from, to shun.   It’s not just “he took himself away” or “he withdrew from” or “he departed again.”   These modern versions lose the depth of the meaning given to us by the word “fugit” because to flee means to get away from something – right quick!

What did Jesus want to get away from?    He fled from the distortion of the Truth about Himself.   He is not fleeing away for fear some harm will be done to Himself, but rather He is fleeing away before the people can do real harm to themselves and to their souls by carrying out their mistaken ideas about His reason for being there.

Perhaps some of those whom He fled from took  a step back and wondered: “We have such good ideas about this Man!   Now, why wouldn’t He be pleased that we will make Him a king?”  

Jesus is up  in these mountains for a while.     We hear so much about “God is close to us” and “Jesus is by our side,”  but then we have to consider that although when we call upon Him, He will draw near,  if we just “call Him over” to us,   with all our ideas about what He’ s going to do for us, then rather than approach, Jesus may “flee” from us, for our own good, until we beseech Him on bended knee, as our True King.

Laetare Sunday today!   How we should thank Him for wanting to give us the True Bread of Life, and not just “plenty of bread” in this life.

SUZY THE REGULATOR

March 10, 2009

suzy-in-am-back-off

This is the first thing I see on most mornings.

If you can’t make it out, I have a hard time making it out in the morning too, but it is the beautiful profile of Suzy the Regulator. Oh, yes, it’s her duty to keep us well-regulated, neat and orderly, and above all, on schedule.

It takes me a while to call her “beautiful” in the morning.

I have never been a Morning Person. I know that can be a lame excuse; it can be. But after a quite a few decades of experience, I know beyond a doubt that it is physiological.

After years of “practice” getting up early for all the years of schooling and after getting up early for all the years of teaching and of “jobs outside of the family” — you never “get used to it.”     There is “discipline” but there is not change.    Assisting at Prime is about as disciplined as I can get.

I know I’m far more productive the way I am. I don’t have a mid-morning slump. I never have the need for a mid-afternoon nap. I never have an early evening winding down. A graph of my daily activity looks like a slow, gentle climb upwards – all day long and far into the night, where I lie down because it’s the decent thing to do at one or two in the morning.

Which brings us quickly to the above photo. At the first lying down in the early morning hours, there is a gentle massaging of my collar bone, neck, chin, ears…whatever is ticklish and sensitive. Kitty love. A few hours later, the process is repeated, I think, with claws included this time. And wet spots on the chin, ears, neck, and cheekbones. That’s my impression anyway; I’m not quite awake.

Then after a few “huffs” of disgust and when all is still and quiet again, I awaken to a gentle weight, roughly distributed between clavicle and sternum, about the weight of a bag of flour. Not too bad really. Breathing is possible.

And when I finally open my eyes, the above photo is what I see – on one of these gentle mornings.   I am gifted with friendship, and the morning isn’t quite so bad anymore.

Deo gratias.