Thursday, December 1, 2016

First Photo: December 2016

December, at last.  I have to admit I am glad to see November end.  It's not that anyting bad occured.  We celebrated my birthday and Thanksgiving, so there was good to be had.  We had some remarkably good weather, bookending the snow that arrived mid-month. 

It was dark, very, very dark.  The shorter days are so noticble, especially with the time change.  When I get home from work, all I want to do is either curl up under a blanket with a good book or go to sleep.

I know December brings more of the same.  But, somehow it's different.  I think observing Advent helps.  We are in a time of both preparation and contemplation.  We start out in the darkness, and week by week another candle glows bright. 

“Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.”


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Daughter She Didn't Have

When we married eighteen years ago, I gained a great extended family.   My mother-in-law is one of six siblings and all but one had children.  Her youngest brother, Al, is married to wonderful woman, Paulette Rose.  They had five kids, four daughters and a son. 
I love all my family, but there's something special about Aunt Paulette.  She has a goofy sense of humor and is kind and generous.  She makes the best deviled eggs and has been known to bring a plate of them just for us to family gatherings.  She shares a name in common with my mom, Rose.
She has seen more than her share of hardship.  She and Uncle Al lost their son just a month after his  twenty-first birthday.  She's battled lymphoma several times.  And then there was the huge oak tree that crashed through the roof of her newly remodeled bedroom just has her family began to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
And, on top of all that, she has four daughters that don't sew a stitch!  Not a bit. 
Aunt Paulette is one of the craftiest and most creative people I know.  She sews and crochets and embroiders.  For a while she had her own craft store, Colorado Rose, in which she sold all sorts of beautiful and interesting things that she made.  She worked at a quilt shop, had a machine embroidery business, and frequently sold at craft fairs.  She crochets baby blankets for a local hospital's NICU patients.
When we get together we can talk for hours about what we are working on and creating.  She quite kindly oohs and aahs over whatever my latest project happens to be. 
Remember I mentioned not one of her daughters sews?  Well, that's been lucky for me.  She has been thinning out her stash and I've been the recipient of two trunk-loads worth of material and notions and even a sewing dummy. 
I have already put some of the material to good use, making a baby quilt from a sweet green and yellow vintage print.  And, don't tell Aunt Paulette, but she's getting her own quilt for Christmas this year!
So much material, so little time!
D's baby quilt

Monday, November 14, 2016

Advent Prayer Buddies

In just a couple of weeks we will be starting Advent.  I don't know about you, but I haven't given a whole lot of thought yet about what I want to do.  The one thing, I do know, is that I am looking forward to increased, focused prayer for my Prayer Buddy. 

During Advent, you can say prayers, novenas, and rosaries, light candles, and offer up suffering for your secret Prayer Buddy and whatever intentions he or she specifies.  On Christmas, or shortly thereafter, you will let your assigned person who you are and how you remembered them.

Those interested in participating, please email me at:
I will need from you is:
Your first name or first initial
Your blog address (or email address if you are not a blogger)
Your intentions
Your full name
Your address
(Address can be provided if your Prayer Buddy plans to send you a small remembrance at Christmas)
DEADLINE FOR SIGN-UPS IS: Wednesday, November 23rd


Monday, November 7, 2016

A Time For Choosing

While on Pinterest this evening, I ran across a quote that was attributed to Ronald Reagan.  He was an eloquent and powerful speaker, so I wanted to learn more about where and when the quote originated.  From what I can gather, the only thing accurate about the Pinterest quote was the title. 
In October 1964, Reagan gave a televised speech endorsing Barry Goldwater for President.  A Time For Choosing was this speech.  Given fifty two years ago, so much of this is valid, maybe even more so, today.
You can read the speech here or watch the video below.  The thirty minutes it lasts is very much worth your time.

"For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.  The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks.
  And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed."
* * * *
"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so." 
* * * *
"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.  So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."

 * * * *
"Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment."
* * * *
"They say we offer simple answers to complex problems.  Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right."


Thursday, November 3, 2016

They Done Us Proud

If you look outside in northeastern Ohio today, it is gray and dull.  There is a light misty rain falling and the sun isn't anywhere to be found.  It's appropriate.  I think that's how all the fans of the Cleveland Indians feel today.  Dull and gray.

In the Spring, like most years, we were hopeful.  We had a lot of great players and a bunch of young ones that showed so much potential.  As the summer went on, it seemed like a good, decent season and the playoffs were a definite possibilty. 

But, then the injuries started.  Two starting pitchers and the primary catcher were injured.  One of our best outfielders tried, but wasn't able, to come back from last year's shoulder injury and subsequent surgery.   I have to admit, some of us started writing off this season.  The playoffs just couldn't possibly happen with all that. 

The players, thankfully, thought differently.  The Tribe showed us that working hard, acting as a team, and making good decisons can bring you farther than you ever thought possible. 

These last few weeks have been exciting.  The team didn't act like the underdogs that much of the sportsworld seemed to think they were.  And that attitude was contageous.  We all thought they were going to do it.  As the t-shirts said, we were going to Party Like It's 1948, the last time they won the championship.

The World Series was just what it ought to be - two very good, evenly matched teams fighting to the bitter, wet, rain-delayed, extra inning, late end.  Unfortunately, our Indian Summer ended at about ten to one this morning.

And if it matters, I couldn't be more proud to be called their fan.  Thanks for a great, exciting year!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

First Photo: November 2016

Gold Leaves
G. K. Chesterton

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

Something to ponder on this Feast of All Saints.  God Bless!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2016) - Water - by Me

 I loved this month's theme - Water - and had fun with it.  See for yourself!
I attended a conference near St. Louis for work late last month.  On the second evening there, the vendor who organized the conference hosted a dinner and cocktails at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I was in heaven!  Perfect weather, flowers, an adult beverage and my camera.  The reflecting pool above was just one of the many water features there, but one of the prettiest.
 We took a morning hike in a park near where we used to live.  It was a beautiful day!
At the beginning of October we went to an art show at a local historical property.  It's a trip we make every year.  Usually the weather is cool and rainy, but this year we were treated to sunshine and blue skies.  We had more fun wandering the grounds and taking picture than we did looking at the art being sold by the many vendors, as you can see from the view of Himself on the other side of this fountain.  I took a number of pictures of it, trying to catch the drops of water from above.

I love the water droplets on our "Roisin", a shrub rose my sister and brother-in-law gave us when we became our niece's God-parents.  Roisin is Irish for "Rosie" or "Little Rose". 
Across the road from where I work is a river with a number of decent sized waterfalls.  The bridge downstream provides a great spot for snapping a few photos of it.

To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa


Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2016) - Water - by Himself

I enjoyed the pictures featuring water that Himself took.  Since he doesn't have a blog of his own, I decided to share them here. 
 Hunting Chipmunks At The Watering Hole

Petal Puddles
 Sun Tea

 Three States of Water

Drops of Water and Light
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Friday, October 28, 2016

No Pink for Me

I began writing this last year, but never managed to finish it.  It seems appropriate, still.

It seems October has competing colors – orange and black for Halloween and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  To tell you the truth, I’d much rather see the former rather than the latter.

This morning I went for my annual mammogram.  It’s not the most pleasant experience but not the most horrible either.  But, as a woman, it’s just one of those things you put on your to-do list and check it off, hoping that “no news is good news” afterwards.  Last year the initial results were questionable and the events following were trying, to say the least, but in the end all was well.

The technician that performed the  exam was kind and accommodating.  She had seen from my records last year’s results and asked if a marker had been placed at the biopsy site.  Yes, it’s a titanium top hat.  She looked at me oddly.  Well, that what they told me after the procedure. 

I didn’t have time to eat breakfast before the test and was hungry.  I stopped at Panera’s on the way to work.    As I walked through the door I was greeted with bouquets of pink balloons and pictures of ribbon shaped bagels.  I almost walked out. 

This year, the amount of "pink" seems to have grown exponentially.  NFL players are wearing pink shoes, sweatbands and towels.  News websites are basking in a new rosy glow.  A local radio station is selling pink rubber ducks.  All sorts of products in the grocery store sport pink labels and pink ribbons. 
How many people and corporations are making money off a disease that effects so many people, women and men?  Awareness of this cancer is great, but it has become almost cultish.  It's the politically correct disease to get behind and eradicate. 

I have seen no attention given to risk factors such as abortion and diet.  Mention those and you are treated like a heretic, particularly by the businesses that have a lot to lose financially if people change.

Cancer is scary.  I get it.  We have it in the family.  It is something my sister and I need to take seriously.  But, there's also diabetes, arthritis and a whole slew of other ailments.  I'd like to see those get equal attention.

Thankfully, November is just a few days away!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Swimming Upstream

I have yet to venture into politics in my little bitty part of the blogsphere.  Until now.  Unless you’re a Luddite or living off the grid, by now you have heard about the eleven year old recording of Trump’s “vile” bragging about his prowess with women.

Please, don’t tell me you were surprised by that.

We have known all along that what we were getting in this candidate was a man who is lewd, crude and rude.  Our other choice is a woman who is corrupt and crass.   Rules don't apply to her.

Take your pick.

Himself and I often talk about politics and the state of our world.  Long ago, we have come to the conclusion that politics is downstream from culture.

In "The Everlasting Man", GK Chesterton tells us that “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

Many years later, St. Pope John Paul II warned us “This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death" and the "culture of life".  We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” (EVANGELIUM VITAE 28)

If things are going to change, we need to be among the living, part of the culture of life, and swim upstream.  We have to work to change the culture.  And in doing that, maybe then, and only then, can be get leaders, not politicians, that are worthy of the job.

I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be painful.  Going against the current culture may cost us friends, family, jobs, and more. 

But, that is better than losing my soul.