Saturday, November 07, 2009

What About Thanksgiving?!?!?!?

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by Brownscombe

For those of us living in the states, the Holiday season seems to begin with Halloween, which, as most know, falls at the end of October. Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year, and it seems that it is popular with many others as well. In fact, Halloween has become big business.

The next holiday is Veterans Day, and there is a healthy focus on that, and rightly so. Following Veterans day is "Thanksgiving" which is perhaps my most favorite holiday. And then, on the day after Thanksgiving, we celebrate the beginning of the "Christmas Holidays" with "Black Friday, the unofficial beginning of the "commercial" Christmas Holidays.

Last week, Halloween decorations were every where. This week, people have taken them down and are slowly replacing them with Christmas decorations. I was driving through downtown Fairborn, Ohio this morning, and wreaths are adorning the lampposts on Main Street and the City Christmas tree was being placed in it's traditional place. And it's only the 7th of November! On Facebook, many of the Halloween related "apps" have been replaced by Christmas related "apps". One even went as far to say: "first there's Halloween, then there's Christmas"! Flabbergasted and annoyed, I kept thinking: WHAT ABOUT THANKSGIVING?????

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday! It's the time of year when we gather together to give Thanks for our blessings. There is historical significance to this Holiday. In the United States, the First Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Autumn of 1621 by the surviving pilgrims who were celebrating their successful harvest. Thanksgiving was considered a religious holiday, where people gathered to worship and give thanks to God for their blessings. Over time there is less emphasis on the religious aspect of the Holiday. Yet it is still a time where families gather together around a table and share a meal. The focus is on the meal, and on the fellowship with family. Some families have small gatherings and others have large gatherings.

Personally, we have two Thanksgivings. I love this day. I love being with Family, and sharing a meal. I love gathering around the table and telling stories and sharing news. I love being with people who are dear to me. And I love the fact that there is know emphasis on gifts. Our Gatherings are about being together with loved ones. And that is precious. And since becoming Catholic, I love going to church for Thanksgiving.. be cause "it is right to give Thanks and Praise"!!!!

This brings me to the point of this blog. During this month of November, my focus is going to be on Thanksgiving, and giving thanks for things that matter to me.

Today, I would like to give thanks to God for my loved ones. I'd like to give Thanks for the glorious day I've had.. for the wonderful visit with my Uncle, who came to visit all the way from Arizona. I'd like to give Thanks for the wonderful visit with my Mother. I'd like to give Thanks for the awesome tour we had of the Wright Brother's Home. What a treat that ways... I lived in the same neighborhood as this house when I was growing up, and I've always wanted to see it.

In closing... I'd like to encourage anyone reading this to stop and think about the blessings in their lives... and to stop and take time to "Give Thanks" for them.

God Bless....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Come, Creator, Spirit

I adore this prayer and just wanted to share. Click on the graphic to see it more clearly. God Bless.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snapshot: The missing keys

Keeping keys in a place where I can find them is not one of my strong suits. I am notorious for losing keys, and when I travel, I carry at least two extra sets "just in case"! I go through periods of extraordinary diligence, where I dutifully take my keys and put them in my purse. House keys, car keys.... and work keys fill my purse. I do not worry so much about my house and car keys because Russell always has a set, and we have extras at home. My "work" keys are another matter.

Tuesday morning found me standing outside my office door rifling through my purse. No keys. So I went across the hall, where I know there is a spare... but everyone was tied up behind closed doors. At this point I decided that rather than calling public safety, I'd run across to the student union and grab some breakfast, hoping that when I returned I'd be able to find someone with a key.

This plan didn't quite work out, but I was able to find someone to let me in. I looked high and low in my office... and could not find my keys. I was a bit perplexed but this soon slipped my mind as I got on with the business of the day. Later in the evening, I started looking at home. I checked every conceivable place I could think of, but did not find any keys. I was getting quite concerned, because the task of getting replacement keys is daunting to say the least.

And then, as I was getting ready for bed, I stopped and said a prayer to St. Anthony. I prayed that he helped me find my keys as they were quite important. And no sooner had I said Amen, when I suddenly had a very strong urge to go out to our truck. I went outside... it was about 1:00 a.m. and opened the back passenger door. I had looked here once before, but suddenly "I JUST KNEW" that they were there. And sure enough, upon checking the pocket of my rain jacket, I found them!

I then profusely gave thanks to Saint Anthony for his help. Never ever underestimate St. Anthony. I've heard story upon story about him helping people find the most amazing thing, or helping them to find there way out of something that was seemingly impossible.

So once again, I'd like to give my thanks and praise to St. Anthony, for all of his help during my lifetime.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Snapshot: Oh, but to be a good daughter......

Today's snapshot has to do with being a good daughter!Sadly, I am not always what I would consider to be a "good daughter". My Mother is in a nursing home, and she is at times confused. She does spend a good deal of time on her computer however, which we encourage. Yet, the there are many times when she can't remember passwords, or gets her computer locked up... and then the calls arrive, and she demands immediate attention. And I usually become cross and impatient. Shame on me.

It was during one of these incidents that I frantically cried out to Mary, in complete earnestness, asking for her help in helping me to be more patient, more tolerant.... and simply.... kind. I was in my car a the time (where I seem to do my best praying, oddly enough) driving to my Mothers. Of course, she was again stuck... and after taking a deep breath... I went in and managed to be upbeat and positive. My Mother commented as I was leaving: "Thank you for not getting mad.". I smiled at her but cringed inwardly. Am I that much of a jerk?

I'm afraid that the answer is at times, yes.

Days passed... and once again I was at my Mothers bedside, working on her computer. I have been able to be more patient... and less grumbly. My Mother was explaining to me that she couldn't remember how to get to this one game she enjoys playing. I told her how, and she argued that she had never done it that way before. So, taking a deep breath, I said "Mother, I've told you this dozens of times." She said "Annie, I know, but I just can't always remember."

I then replied "I'm so sorry, and I'm so sorry that I get mad." She shared that she didn't like when I got mad, and who can blame her? At this point I was stroking her hair and she shared that it felt good.

I smiled, and said "it does?". She looked at me, very solemnly and said "Yes, and nobody touches me anymore."

Tears filled my eyes and remorse filled my heart. I knew I was so guilty of this. Touching her has been such a harsh reminder of how frail she has become, and I have been avoiding doing so.

"Oh Mother," I said.... "I'm so sorry". We just looked at each other... connected so deeply for the first time in ages. I whispered "I love you so much" and she said "I know". I held her hand for the rest of my visit.

I've not been able to stop thinking about this since that visit a few days ago. I have felt so terrible. And then, today, in sharing this with another colleague who has elderly parents, I came to realize something quite inspiring.

This knowledge was a gift... from Mary and from God. I do believe that through Mary's intercession that I have learned so much about my Mother in the last few days. I will be able to give her something so important that I have been failing to do. I can rectify my mistakes... I can be kinder, more patient and more tolerant. I can hug her and hold her hand, and I can love her. And most of all, I can talk to her... and try and connect.

So thank you Mother Mary, for your gentle and loving intercession.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is
the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SNAPSHOT: Family "always behind you"

Family is essential. "Family" makes us who we are... for better and for worse. In my experience, that has always been for the better. Yes, there have been trials and tribulations, yet even those tribulations have been woven in to the fabric of who and what we are. There are two pictures in this blog. They were taken this weekend and are quite different. Yet when you look at them, and understand what is happening in them, they deliver the same message.

This first picture is of my husband Russell and his cousin Jim. After being on the market for over a year, Russell's Mother has finally sold the family homestead and we spent the day on Saturday loading up the last of Russell's things that have been in the house since his childhood. Of course this was a bit bittersweet because we also said goodbye to the house where he grew up... where he became the man he is. The most "important" item we picked up was a tool chest that Russell had inherited from his paternal Grandfather many years ago. It's been stored away in the garage for 25+ years, and his Grandfather used it every day at work. It's the size of a steamer trunk, and being made of wood and filled with iron and steel tools. Needless to say, it is incredibly heavy, and Russell's cousin Jim was on hand to help load it into our truck.

After the trunk was loaded onto the truck, Russell opened it. He and Jim were like two kids exploring a treasure chest. And indeed, it was a treasure. Tools mean nothing to me... but there were so many little things that caught my eye... a couple of photographs, several little booklets and notepads. Tins of band aids, that someone would likely pay a lot for on EBay. There were a pair of safety glasses... Harry Potter type glasses... that were from the 20's. I never knew Russell's grandfather, but his presence was definitely felt. This was his world that we opened up... and there was an amazing connection to who he was. I watched Russell's face, and took the picture (against his wishes of course). Russell was a child when his Grandpa died, and now he's a grown man. I have heard stories of what a wonderful man he was... and I could see the love on Russell's face as he went through his Grandfather's things. It was a truly poignant moment. And in the "theme" of family, to have a cousin from the other side of your family present, offering help merely underlines the importance and specialness of family.

At first glance, the second picture may seem quite odd. I took it the next day as we were driving to Cincinnati to take my sister and her husband to brunch at "The Grand Finale"
in honor of her upcoming 50th birthday. We drove separately and I was feeling silly, and snapped this picture of the side mirror on our truck. If you look in the reflection of the mirror, you'll see my sister's vehicle following behind. Chuckling after I took the picture, I sent her a text saying "there you are!". She couldn't really see the picture on her phone, but in thinking about it, I realized that yes...she is always there, standing behind me, holding me up. And I am there for her in the same regard. And we are blessed because we have the same relationship with our extended families. And that is how it should be! In days gone by, families looked out for each other. It's too bad that not everyone is blessed. And when I look at this picture... originally taken to make a joke, I realize just how blessed we are. And in realizing this, I am going to take more snapshots... and then look at them for perhaps a deeper meaning.

And I thank God, for all of His blessings. When you open your eyes, and really pay attention, it's amazing how often you will notice His presence in all things!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

True Inner Peace

There are times, when I can be rather thin skinned… my feelings are easily hurt. And then, I tend to either harbor a grudge, or, lash out… regretting my harsh words later. The following passage, written by Joseph F. Girzone in “Joshua And The Children” really struck a chord with me. It reads:

"What Jesus was trying to do was not to issue an impossible commandment, but to offer the key to true inner peace. He came to bring peace to troubled souls and to show people how to live in a way that would not only lead them to God, but help them find a meaning to life that made sense. He was deeply concerned about people’s inability to find peace. His secret, which he lived himself, was in forgiveness, a forgiveness so complete that it never even allowed itself to take offense. Always try to understand why people say and do the things they do, the inner anguish that gives rise to those things, and then it is hard to take offense. Indeed, you can even pity them. You may reach out and be a brother and sister to those people, never despairing of trying to heal their troubled, tortured souls. Jesus himself lived that way. He never took offense, and his last words were 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they have done.'" – Joseph F. Girzone “Joshua and the Children” Chapter 30 p. 182

After reading this passage, I was so moved. I am intent on trying as hard as I can to try and do this… to follow the example Jesus set for us. If only all of mankind could find the where with all to do the same, the world would be a far better place.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

To Snooze or Not To Snooze....

Every morning, our alarm goes off at 6:45 sharp. This year, Russell is in charge of the snooze because he said that "I took too many snoozes, which made us late for work"! HA! So now, that he is in charge, I am learning that he also tends to "take too many snoozes," making us late to work! When the alarm goes off, he slaps it.... and then we go back to sleep for another 9 minutes. And then it buzzes again, and again and again... with 9 minutes in between each buzz. So we're two peas in a pod when it comes to snoozing.

There is one difference, however. My clock runs about 5-10 minutes fast. This is deliberate on my part. Russell's clock is set to the accurate time. We have debated the wisdom of this since we were married 15 years ago and have never come to an agreement. If there is a power outage, and Russell fixes the clocks before I can get to them, then mine is set to accurate time. And of course, this throws me off, which is perplexing to Russell.

I wonder about the psychology of all of this! Yes I know my clock is fast, yet when we finally get in the car, and I look at the clock, I can say.... well, we did pretty good today... we're not as late as I thought we were. And Russell just rolls his eyes at me. And then the great snooze debate begins. Last year, it was my fault. This year, it's clearly his.. and I take great satisfaction in pointing that out!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Angels in the most unexpected places!

I don't know why it always surprises me, but there are times when I encounter an Angel in the most unexpected place! The Angel I encountered to day is named Carlos, and he works for our local Cable company. I was calling in regards to my Mother's cable bill. It was refreshing to, first, speak with a real live human being, and second, speak with someone who was kind, compassionate and enthusiastic about providing excellent customer service. Carlos was compassionate in that he wanted to provide my Mother the best possible rate, and he was able to drop her existing rate by about $10+ a month. And the most amazing thing is, I never even thought to ask for a lower rate. He did this all on his own. We discussed what it must be like to be bed fast. So I am saying a special prayer of thanksgiving to God for the Angel named Carlos... and I am asking God to bless Carlos and his loved ones. Amen.

After Kennedy\'s Death: Silence from the Pope

After Kennedy\'s Death: Silence from the Pope

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Waidin's Encore (Cora) CGC CD 1997-2009

It is with great sorrow that I post this.... we lost our Cora on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. She was our very first Newf.. she was everything to me... she was a wonderful companion and friend. She was a wonderferful therapy dog...she worked well with children... they responded to her in amazing ways. She despised being brushed....yet she'd let children residing in our local battered women's shelter brush her without complaint. She was the first one that a little girl spoke to after untold horrors.. her social worker told me she hadn't spoken in 3 weeks... and Cora broke through that barrier.

She was the calming influence on all the rescues that came through our door. She took a backseat to them all... allowing us to give our attentions to them because they needed it. Yet she'd stick her nose under our hands when she needed some las much loving.

She was simply, a good sweet girl... not a fancy show dog... she didn't like the water too much. She had her CD.. which for those of you who know us meant as much as any best in show! She was, is and will always be "my puppy".

I thank all of those who have been in touch with me on Facebook... and I am posting here to reach any friends with whom I've not been in touch with.

Godspeed my sweet Cora.... we love you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A silver lining.....

It occurred to me me yesterday how the the saying "Every Cloud has a silver lining" applied to me, and our oldest Newfie girl Cora. Cora is our first Newfie.. our old girl, and the matriarch of our Newfie pack. She has always been so good, so placid... so obedient.... and just reliable. This has been such a blessing, because our other 3 Newfs are adopted from Newfoundland Rescue, and all have a variety of issues that make it necessary to focus on them most of the time.
Cora has been content to remain in the background.... not loved any less, but perhaps not loved enough. "She's such a good girl...." we've been known to say... and I think we've taken her for granted... WAY TOO MUCH. In the last few weeks, reality has reared it's ugly head.

Cora is 11 3/4 years, and in the last year or so, has shown signs of slowing down. We have been aware of this "peripherally" but have also been in denial. However, three weeks ago, she could not get up one day... and I had to help her. Russell was away at scout camp, and I had to pull her from her crate, and then use a sling to support her rear end. She could then walk fairly easily. Our Vet gave us medication for arthritis, so I gave her one and it helped. SO for the next week, I gave her pills when she needed them.. and there were times when she'd be up on her own.

Russell came home, and this continued. We talked about taking her to the vet, but then I became quite ill, and once again our Cora's needs faded into the background.
Russell began grooming Cora. This is something that she despises... grooming is the one thing that makes her misbehave and be non compliant. It's always been a huge ordeal to groom and bathe her, and so we don't make her endure this as often as we should. Yet she was hot, and we knew that it had to be done... So Russell worked on her every day... and I helped when I could.

It was then when we discovered an open wound on her elbow.... I knew in my heart that it was bad... I was so sure. Newfies are prone to Osteo-Sarcoma, which at least one of Cora's litter mates died from. So with heavy hearts, we cleaned and bandaged it. She would take the bandage off so we put on Ben's e-collar... that was quite distressing for the old girl. I hated it so.. and guilt, remorse and regret filled my heart and soul.

Finally we were at the Vet's office. After a long wait, we were seen and I held my breath as our Vet examined her. I knew we would hear her death sentence, and I sat there, rigid with tension. I didn't really hear what the Dr. said... I was so immersed in fear and emotion... but suddenly I realized that Cora didn't have what we thought. It wasn't cancer.. it was a very ugly sore from where she had rubbed off the "natural callous" on her elbow. Relief cascade through me and I was sobbing. The vet was a bit perplexed by my reaction, and I explained my fears. She reassured me and we talked at length.... and a treatment plan was devised... a geriatric blood panel was done. She's on all sorts of meds. We took her home and spent all weekend continuing to groom and finally bathe her.

And this brings me to the entire point of this blog. The silver lining of this "cloud"..... We are finally back to devoting time to our special girl... our first Newfie... she is with me right now.. and I've barely left her side in the last few weeks. We've had one hell of a reality check... and each one of our dogs is special and deserves equal time. There is no way I will ever let Cora fade into the background.. and I thank GOD for this opportunity to make amends and reconnect with my special girlie... we have had a wonderful journey together... have had incredible adventures and those are going to continue.

Thank you Lord... for this opportunity... for gently jerking our chain and opening our eyes.... for allowing us to make the most of every day we have with Cora... however long that may be.

I love you Cora.... so very very very much.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Pope's "unannounced" gift to President Obama

It's awesome that the Pope gave this "unannouced" gift to President Obama. And it's not surprising that the mainstream media didn't really have much to say about this particular gift. Rather, they focused on the other gifts. I pray that President Obama reads the documents... and has a change of heart....

See Story about the Pope's "unannounced" gift to President Obama here

Under The Weather at Country Lane

Summertime... isn't it grand!!! However, my summers of late seem to be plagued with illness, and parental issues. I began my annual summer hiatus being laid up with a case of "cellulitus"... which is far from fun. I have been "laid up for 2 weeks.... and am happy to report that I am getting better... but I still need to keep my leg elevated much of the day. My latest affliction developed with great speed. I developed a high fever, slept for over 20 hours straight. Russell had a hard time waking me up and I was confused and disoriented. This was due to a high fever. He pulled me out of bed, with every intention of taking me to the hospital. However I began to make more sense and was able to have discussions. So no trip was made to ER.

Cora, our almost 12 year old newf, has also been under the weather. The life span of a Newfoundland is about 10-12 years old... so of course we've been quite worried. She has arthritis, that has flared up lately.. making it difficult for her to get up. She then developed a horrible sore on her front left elbow... we worried that it was a tumor, but were relived when the vet told us that it was not a tumor. Rather, her "natural callous" had become raw and inflamed. She is on serious antibiotics and we have to keep it wrapped. She will have a bath today, and that will do nothing to cheer her up... or us, for that matter!!!

My plate continues to be full. The MHC festival is next week, and I am still working on staffing. This is not easy, but I'm sure we'll make it through. That, in a nutshell... is the current state of affairs on Country Lane. Cheers......

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"You Are Mine"

Today was the celebration of the "Feast of the Ascension", where Jesus ascended into heaven. My impression of this day has always been rather sad. I now realize the joy of His Ascension into heaven.

I heard this at Mass today, and have heard this song before. It is one of my favorites and I love it dearly. I think that it offers such amazing comfort, love and hope. I hope that anyone who chooses to view it, will find love and comfort as well. Jesus loves us..... all of us. Never ever doubt his love.... Never be afraid.

Jesus is always with us. He did not leave us. He never will.

Please click on this link: "You Are Mine"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eager to get out into the sunshine....

As I was leaving the student union this morning, I exchanged pleasantries with a passerby.... they wished me good morning, and asked me how I was. My reply was "I'm wonderful... and eager to get out into the warmth of the sunshine!"

It is truly a beautiful day, and as I walked towards my office in Alumni Hall, I listened to the birdsong and enjoyed the smell of the lilacs. I pondered my choice of words, and at first thought them to be an odd thing to say... not that it was wrong.. just unusual. "Eager to get out into the warmth of the sunshine...." you see.. I've never been a sunny day sort of person. I have always loved cloudy days. Sure, I'd like a pretty day from time to time... but something about a cloudy day has always been comforting. And now I'm craving sunshine.... and I think it's more than just enjoying a pretty day. I think perhaps that it's really God's light that I am craving.

Since beginning my faith journey... since becoming Catholic and reading and studying.. I am drawn towards light... towards the sunshine... toward art that shows light filtering into the darkness. I recently saw a collection of paintings by a student. They were of a forest. I love tree's.. and forests.... and this showed sunlight filtering through the denseness of the woods... it was so strong, so brilliant. Only God's light could be that strong! Then there is a picture of a lighthouse, on the shore of a stormy Lake Erie. The beacon of light boldly shining out into the murky night... guiding one to the safety of the shore. Again, only God's light could be that strong...

The most amazing thing, however, is to feel the warmth of the sun... it is like feeling God wrapping His arms around me. And that is such an amazing thing. So if you read this... the next time you feel the warmth of the sun, think of it as God wrapping His arms around you.... and know that you are loved...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle... what a delightful surprise

Sitting at work yesterday, I received a call from my sister. "Get on to You Tube right now" she said. And so being the obedient one, I logged in. "Type in 'Susan Boyle' into the search window" she further instructed... "And then select the 7+ minute clip."

And so I did. And so I've done a dozen plus times since. I've also watched her this morning on "The Today Show" and have joined her fan page on Facebook.

This is an awesome story in the making. And I'm certain that it is far from over. Susan Boyle is a 47 year old woman from Scotland. She has never been married... never even been kissed. Her one dream is to become a professional singer. Most would say that she is not a beauty. I beg to differ. Her beauty shines from her eyes, from her heart, and when she begins to sing, her beauty blows you away.

What I loved most about this, is that the judges and the audience were clearly cynical when she walked onto stage. They laughed and rolled their eyes... they were quite unkind. Susan didn't let it get to her. She was charming and funny... she has spirit. And she has an amazing voice, which blew everyone away. Watching the judges' reactions as well as the reactions of the audience was exhilarating. And after her performance, the judges owned up to the fact that they had been wrong, they had been mean and unkind, and they were truly apologetic... and thrilled, and humbled. I just love it when "the little guy" kicks ass. Here is a link to the you tube click that made my day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Georgetown University hid religious symbols upon White House request....

President Obama spoke at Georgetown University on Tuesday... the word Jesus was covered up due to a request by the White House. I find this very alarming. This just confirms how wrong it is for the President to have been asked to speak at Notre Dame University's commencement.

Given his stance on abortion, I do think this is a Scandal. He claims to be a Christian. If that is so, then why the request to cover up Jesus' name?

This is Easter Time. It is a time to rejoice, for HE is risen!!! It is not a time, to cover him up. I will continue to pray for understanding, comfort and tolerance. I only wish the President would be tolerant of those of us who do believe!

The other question on my mind is why Catholic Universities are inviting him to speak, when there is little evidence that he has any respect for Catholic beliefs. I would hope that Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame will too at this incident at Georgetown, and rethink his decision. I do realize that there is merit in inviting a dialog... and we can all pray that such a dialog would help the President to see the light. The request that Jesus' name be covered up is alarming. I just hope that anyone other Catholic institutions take note of this... and don't follow in Georgetown or Notre Dame's footsteps.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Greetings!!

Rejoice, for HE has risen! Happy Easter everyone. I hope that everyone reading this had a wonderful and blessed Easter.

Our Holy week was busy, and many things happened that I didn't expect. I had been asked to carry in the Sacred Chrism for the "Mass of the Lord's Supper" which was on Thursday. The Sacred Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam. It has been blessed by the Archbishop and is used in the sacrament of confirmation.

I was so honored to be asked, and I managed to do so without mishap. And I wasn't even nervous! I was so thrilled that it never occurred to me to be so. I think the most wonderful thing about the experience is that I was confirmed just one year ago... and I well remember the wonder smell of the oil, and the wonderful feeling of being received into membership by the Catholic church. Powerful stuff to be sure!

On Good Friday, Russell & I attended the "Celebration of the Lord's Passion" at the Alumni Hall Chapel on UD's campus. I found the "adoration of the cross" to be powerful and incredibly moving.
And of course, Easter Vigil at UD was spectacular and beautiful. It was cold outside, even for April, but the fire was wonderful, and the processon by candlelight in to the darkened chapel was amazing. I felt such joy as I watched those who were being baptized and confirmed. It was interesting to watch as an observer this time and I recall commenting to Russell that there were some things that I didn't remember from last year. What a beautiful Mass. And when all the lights came on and we sang out, rejoicing in Christ's rising.... it was... AWESOME!

Easter Sunday was spent with our families.. and it was my birthday as well. Having my birthday on Easter was a special thing. And even more touching was how our families went out of their way to include my birthday in the day's celebrations. It was truly a glorious day.

And Lent is over... and chocolate is back in my life.. no more fish on Fridays. But you know what? I didn't really mind. It was quite easy to give all that up, considering all that Jesus gave up for us. Despite the sacfricies, Lent was a wonderful journey. I attended a wonderful Taize style Lenten Reconciliatoin Service hosted by Campus Ministry. Then there was the fabulous retreat sponsored by St. Helen's and Immaculate Conception here in Dayton.

And now, it is time for joyful celebration, for He is risen! Rejoice!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today is "Mardi Gras" is french for "Fat Tuesday". This day is also know as Carnival or Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally, "Fat Tuesday" is a day for eating up leftover rich foods and drink... a sort of a "Last Hoorah" before Lent begins tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of fasting and repentance, which lasts up until Easter.

In our house, there will be no ice cream in the freezer, no sweets of any kind. The girl scout cookies I've ordered will have to wait for consumption until after easter...or perhaps I'll donate them to a food pantry. Tonight we'll eat a good meal. Tomorrow we'll fast. And I'll have to ignore those candy bars that I buy impuslively at the grocery store. It seems like this might be difficult. But I am doing this freely and joyfully.

For those of you who would like to know more about Mardi Gras, here are a couple of links:

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Wintry Mix....

Yes, it's January. Yes, it's winter. It's cold, and it's supposed to be so. That's fine. We have a dusting of snow on the ground, that's fine. Yet we're still new into the "witner" season, and it seems to me that we've already had our fair share of ice, sleet and freezing rain. That's not fine. I'd rather have snow every day... not that I want alot. Three to four inches of snow at a time is enough. I can tolerate 5 or 6... but not as happily. Anything over that is a nuisance, yet is still preferable to freezing rain and ice.

We've been told we're a storm is on the way. And being 50, I can feel it in my bones. SIGH. Thinking we were going to be getting our first significant "snowfall" of this season, I was feeling kind of warm and fuzzy. I have a cake mix to bake... and bird seed and suet to put out. We have our new red truck that is 4 wheel drive, so being "shut it" isn't too much of a threat.
And then I paid attention to the forecast. SIGH. There is the potential for significant snowfall, about 10 miles north of hear. Interstate 70 is some sort of magical line... and the snow fall will be anywhere above that. For those south of this magical line, the forecast is calling for "A Wintry Mix".

Thinking about that phrase, a wintry mix.. makes me think of things that are warm and cozy.

There are all sorts of things that come to mind:

* A bowl of chex mix, a bowl of different flavored popcorn

* Perhaps a mixture of cocoa and Bailyes, or cocoa and peppermin schapps

* A wintry mix of scented candles and potpourri, all designed to make a place smell warm and cozy

* Maybe a mix of moviees to wile away a winter afternoon.

* As I eluded to before, I feed the birds. So in "bird-feeding speak" a wintry mix could consist of different kinds of seeds, fruits and nuts to nourish the birds in extreme cold.

* I don't want to leave out the dogs. For them, a wintry mix could be a bath of home made dog biscuits. I get the urge to bake and be domestic, so to bake a batch of peanut butter and carob dog biscuits during a storm, could be a canine wintry mix!

* I've recently started knitting. So a wintry mix of yarns, used to make warm scarves is a nice and cozy idea.

All of the things on this list are comforting to me... and warm and welcoming. None of them have anything to do with freezing rain and ice. They don't have anything to do with dangerous roads, and the potention for hazardous travel, or for the bumps and bruises one gets when they slip and fall. I guess I just wish, the weather people woudn't try and sugar coat the realitiy of what a weather related wintry mix really is!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas Lights, a waste of energy???

I was in a discussion during lunch yesterday. One person expressed that they felt that all the out door displays were a waste of energy. Point taken. Another person said that they never put outside decorations up, but enjoyed looking at them. This got me to thinking....

Given the state of our economy, I was surprised this year, that so many people put up outdoor Christmas lights. We set up a display of Mary, Jesus and Joseph, the three kings, a shepherd and a couple of sheep. We want to get a star, and an angel, and Russell has a desire to build some sort of structure. Time will prove whether this gets done!

I've always loved driving around at night looking at them. As in any neighborhood, ours had the typical assortmant... mostly secular, but a few nativity scenes. Then there are the new fangled inflatables... which aren't my taste, but seem to please many people. I prefer the religious displays, and lights. It makes the winter darkness warmer, and brighter.

And, while pondering the fact that there were so many outdoor displays this year, it occurred to me, that perhaps during these troubled times, people, want, need, crave the light. Perhaps the light brings hope, and joy... just as the star did when Jesus was born 2000+ years ago. And I have to ask myself, how, could that be a waste of energy?

I wish everyone reading this a very joyous New Year.