Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pulling Weeds

I was looking at my Mary garden this week and saw an invasion of weeds.  Somehow it struck me that the weeds are like sin.  If we don’t pull them out, they grow and spread and take over.

I often use a product called Preen on my gardens.  It is both a weed preventer and a fertilizer.  The directions state that it should be used regularly and as needed.

Perhaps we could all use a little Preen in our lives.  Weed out the bad and fertilize the true, the good and the beautiful.  How?  How about:

          P - Prayer
          R - Reconciliation
          E - Eucharist
          E - Eucharistic Adoration
          N - Never stop trying


Monday, March 26, 2012


May you revel in the bodaciousness of your day!

As I was leaving to go do some work at church Saturday morning, Himself sent me off with that thought.  I really liked it. 

And I wish you the same!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Something Old

Every so often Himself and I will go wander an antique store.  There are a couple down in Amish country that we like to stop in and a mall not too far from our house that we frequent.  We don’t usually go there to buy something; more often than not we walk out empty-handed.  We just like to look.  These stores are like museums, but with things you can actually touch. 

Most often I’m drawn to china, old quilts and books.  Over the years I have put together a small collection of old china that on which I like to serve “tea.”  Himself likes the books as well, but I usually can find him looking at coins and war memorabilia.  We are both looking for the elusive, old copies of GK Chesterton and perhaps even some Belloc and Lewis. 

The old things I like the best aren’t what we find at the stores, but what has been passed down through our families.  Usually there is an anecdote or memory that goes along with the item.  They are things that connect us with people no longer here, people we may not have ever met in our lives, but are still part of our history.

This past weekend my sister and her husband dropped off an old rocking chair they no longer had need for.  It had belonged to my great grandmother on my mom’s side, and had been passed down to my aunt, then my mom and finally my sister.  By the time she got it, it was a bit, okay, a lot worse for wear, having endured many years of my three boy cousins.  Sis had it refurbished and recovered and now it is a thing of beauty.

It sits low to the ground and has finely carved details in its wooden armrests and frame.  It rocks only slightly, quietly.  It has me wondering who sat there before me.  Did my great grandmother rock her babies to sleep in it?  Did my grandmother?  Did someone sit there reading a book they just couldn’t put down? 

I think tonight, perhaps, I’ll grab the old Chesterton I’m reading and become part of the history of that old chair.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Quick Takes (25) - Outdoor edition

The weather here has been spectacular – for the middle of March, for Spring, and just in general.  I’ve been able to leave the door open at night and enjoy falling asleep to soft breezes and waking up to the songs of a lot of happy birds.

And because the weather has been so great, I’ve been able to get a jump start on yard work.  We have a lot of gardens that need a lot of clean up and TLC.  I am much farther along than I would have expected to be at this time.  It's nice to be able to get ahead a bit and not feel pressured to get everything done now.

It’s good to be able to get ahead on yard chores as I have a lot of new projects planned for us.  There are some shrubs in the front of the house, that we often refer to as “Cousin It”, that have gotten out-of-control big.  So big, in fact, that they cover half of the sidewalk!  Out they are going to be replaced by something that hopefully grows at a much slower rate.

It’s time to start thinking about what we are going to be planning in our newly expanded vegetable garden.  Of course we’ll plant the traditional tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets and potatoes.  Any suggestions?  We are hoping to can, freeze, pickle or preserve much of what we grow.

In order to expand the vegetable garden, there’s a bit of yard we need to reclaim.  The previous owners planted, and we tried to continue, a wildflower meadow.  I use that term loosely as it’s really become just a big mass of weeds.  So, weather permitting, I’ll be burning it all down soon.   I can’t wait.  Check back for pictures of the big burn.

We had visitors this week.  On our roof.  Yep.  A pair of geese have been visiting regularly.  On the roof.  Huh?  So strange.  And so loud.  They seem to want to make sure we know that they are there.  We do.

“A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.”
– GKC inThe Man Who Was Thursday

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday (14)

Today I am thankful for. . .

Lunch dates with Himself.  They are becoming our every other Thursday tradition.  It's such a nice break in my work day.

Pretty flowers to adorn my desk.  See above.

Sunshine and warmth.  I don't care that we seemed to have skipped spring and have gone right into summer. I love, love, love it!

Air conditioning.  It's been mighty humid and putting on the air for a few hours really helps. 

It's almost the weekend.  We're heading to K&S's house for dinner Saturday evening.  It's always a great time of fellowship and friendship.

Check out more things to be thankful for over at The Road Home.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Down the road

Down the road a ways from where we live is a small hobby farm.  They recently acquired a couple of new cows, I think black Angus, that we noticed as we drove by.  A week or two later we saw another addition, a small calf, who seems to be growing rather rapidly. 

Sorry to say, one of my first thoughts when I saw it was Yum!  Veal!  No, really, it was. Come on,  you can’t blame me.  I live in a rural area.  Cows and pigs and chickens equal food.

My next thought was that this poor little creature needs a name.  And what did I come up with?

Introducing . . . Veal Young!

Veal Young is on the right.  When we stopped to take a picture, we were surprised to see another small creature.  So, in keeping with the theme, we named him Veal Younger.  I think that's one of their mamas in the back.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The soft ends

Ah!  We made it to Spring.  Glorious, sun-shiny, warm Spring.  Given all the Signs of Spring posts I’ve done lately, my guess is that you have already figured out that I love this time of year.  And I do.  A lot. 

It’s not just the weather that I love.  I crave the newness and the freshness of it.  It is the beginning of something good.  It has possibilities.  It is not harsh or oppressive.

I often call Spring and Fall the soft ends of the year, just as morning and evening are the soft ends of the day.  They are gentle, undemanding.  They ease you into what comes next.  Or they just let you be.  Summer and Winter are harsh, insistent, raucous.  The sun is either high and hot or hiding and dim. 

The colors are fresh now.  Maybe it's because everything, not too long ago, was gray and brown and dirty.  The flowers seem to sing for joy.  And I am too!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Song

Katie at NFP and Me asked: What song did you first dance to as husband and wife?

Well, Katie, I’m glad you asked.  In just two days we will be celebrating the day my beloved asked for my hand in marriage.  Since the proposal took place in St. Joseph’s chapel and today is the Feast of St. Joseph, what could be better than to think about our wedding!

Our song is The Gift sung by Collin Raye.  We had heard it a number of times when we were dating, including live at Collin’s Christmas concert that year.  It was really a no-brainer choosing it for our wedding.  The lyrics really summed up what we felt about each other. 

Winter snow is falling down
Children laughing all around
Lights are turning on like a fairy tale come true
Sitting by the fire we made
You're the answer when I prayed
I would find someone and baby I found you

I remember praying in church before Mass one Sunday for God to send me someone special.  I felt such peace that day as I heard Him say In my time, not yours.  I knew at that moment I had to wait for for the man God would send me, whether it took 10 days or 10 years.

And all I want is to hold you forever
All I need is you more everyday
You saved my heart from being broken apart
You gave your love away
And I'm thankful everyday
For the gift

I think the older I get and the longer we are married, the more this song means to me.  I still get goosebumps when I hear it! 

Watching as you softly sleep
What I'd give if I could keep
Just this moment if all of time stood still
But the colors fade away
And the years will make us gray
But baby in my eyes you'll still be beautiful

[Chorus: x2]

Can't find the words to say
Thank you for the gift


Thursday, March 15, 2012

More signs of Spring

The peas they are a poppin'!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catholic TV

Sometimes I just crack myself up.  I think of something that I think is hilariously funny and am totally amused by it.  When I explain myself to Himself and why I am laughing so, he usually just shakes his head in utter disbelief. 

The other night, as Himself was reading and I was relaxing, I burst out in fits of laughter.  So many of the shows on television these days are totally inappropriate for family viewing, or anyone’s viewing for that matter.     I came up with an alternative to at least one show.  Instead of Sex in the City how about Celibate in the Suburbs?

Okay, I thought it was funny. 

But that got me thinking (dangerous, I know).  How can we revamp/rewrite other TV shows to make them better for our viewing pleasure?

Change Modern Family to Trad Family?  That’s a little bit lame, but a start. 

Any ideas?


Monday, March 12, 2012

Discussing the merits of vacuums

Yesterday we went to the confirmation party of a cousin’s son.  After dinner we were sitting with my in-laws and several aunts and an uncle.  The discussion, at one point, revolved around vacuum cleaners. 

Which was better Dyson or Oreck?  If you had a Dyson, ball or no ball?  We decided no ball was better because the canister was larger and therefore would have to be emptied less often.  Then there are the Hoovers.  They have been around forever, but jeez, why can’t they keep the bags the same?  It’s really hard, sometimes impossible, to find the ones that connect on the bottom.  And remember the door-to-door Kirby Vacuum salesmen?  Do they still have them?  The vacuums were really expensive and powerful, almost selfpropelled, but way too heavy to carry up the stairs.

Is that what all the adults were talking about when we were little?  I remember seeing everyone at the “adult” table back then and thought they were having deep, meaningful conversations that were solving mankind’s greatest philosophical issues.  Now to find out that they were really comparing the merits of different small appliances just shatters that illusion.

Hey!  About that blender. . .


Friday, March 9, 2012

The Adventures of Jack, part 2 – or Destructo Dog

Little did I know how completely unprepared I was for raising a puppy.  We had watched my sister’s dog, Hershey, a number of times, but she is an older, well trained, settled dog.  A puppy is so very completely different.

We had to go out one day soon after getting him, so instead of taking the chance that he would have an “accident” in the house, we decided to lock him in the laundry room.  Big mistake.  The door, the molding and the drywall all paid the price.

After that, we would just let him roam the house when we were gone.  Our Jack is mister social and didn’t like being left alone.  He suffered from a bit of separation anxiety and took it out one various things throughout the house.  We would take bets as to what would be destroyed when we got home.  At various times in his puppyhood, he managed to chew on, tear apart, mangle or destroy:

curtains, pillows, his bed, guest bedroom comforter, many rolls of TP, several baseball caps and a number of shoes and a couple of bras, Bob Feller baseball card, firewood, tennis balls, kitchen chairs, tissue boxes, lots of stuffed animals, a just released library book, a wooden carving, kitchen and entryway throw rugs, a couple of leashes, the electric cord to a lamp, two of Himself's books including the "Regan Letters"

Owning a puppy was much, much more expensive than I had anticipated.  There were all the things I knew he needed, food, leash & collar, vet visits, but the replacement and repair of things destroyed caught me off guard.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday (13)

This week I am thankful for. . .
Birthdays.  This week Himself celebrated a milestone birthday.  Since he didn’t want a party, I took the day off and we spent it together, doing what could be considered rather mundane things.  It was together, simple, and fun; and a good celebration of life itself.

My mother-in-law.  In spite of a not-so-easy life, she raised an intelligent, thoughtful, loving son.  Without her, I wouldn’t have him.

Check out more things to be thankful for over at The Road Home.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meaning of Life

This morning, for grins and giggles, I poked the meaning of life in my search engine and it told me there were about 113,000,000 results.  Wow!  That seems like a whole lot of things to take into account.  I really don’t think, even if I live to be in my 90s as my grandparents did, I would have time to consider each one of those meanings.

Of course I’m being facetious.  As far as I know or am concerned, there is one meaning of life:
To know God, to love God, to serve God in this life
 so I can be with Him forever in the next.

Pretty simple, no?  Not always.  We’re human, with this desire for things to be fair.  I’ll do my share and you’ll do yours.   We keep score.  We take names.  We don’t want to go out of our way, at least not too much so, for someone else.  We want to be accommodated.

K at All You Who Hope wrote a few weeks back that she was having issues dealing with anger.  In her latest post she credited some great advice from Pray Hope Don’t Worry that was helping her immensely: each day she starts out with the belief that everything is her job as it applies to keeping up her home. 

What a great attitude!  She is there to serve.  How do we serve God in this life? By serving others, of course. 

In the gospel of Mathew (25:31-40) we read:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

So, if I truly want to serve God in this life, I need to look for Him right where I am - in my own home, work place, and community.  I need to see the face of Christ where ever I look. 


Monday, March 5, 2012

A cat, a kitchen and a spider

I have the strangest dreams. I often wake up remembering them.
Sometimes I can tell how they have come to be. I can see parts life,
past and present, conversations, television shows, even the weather,
all come together, whir around in the blender of my mind, and spew out
like some bizarre melodrama.

The other night I had one of the odder ones. And I couldn't even
begin to tell you where this came from.

I was in a house, I don't know whose, when I opened a drawer in the
kitchen and there was cat there looking up at me. The home owner
seemed pretty matter of fact about it. Later, however long it may
have been but time had obviously passed, I opened the drawer again.
This time a leg of a cat fell out and the first cat was still there,
albeit rather emaciated. But the scary part was it was being hugged
by a tarantula. Huh? A big, hairy tarantula.

I don't even want to know what that dream means! Would you?


Sunday, March 4, 2012

More signs of Spring

Spring training  has started!  Yipee!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

In for a penny, in for a pound

A couple of years ago I was looking to get more involved at church.  We had been in this parish for almost five years and I felt like I wanted, and needed, to do more.  I tried volunteering at our St. Vincent de Paul food pantry and helping the Altar and Rosary Society with funeral meals, but neither felt like the place I was supposed to be.  Right about  Easter of that year, there was a notice in the bulletin that help was needed in the Arts & Environment committee.  Now that sounded like something I would and could do.

Little did I know that help needed was really code for someone to take over.  Tammy had been doing it for nearly ten years, mostly by herself.  For her, it was time for other things. 

Thankfully, the day I showed up to help for the first time, so did Janet.  I had never met her before, but we hit it off immediately and, as it turns out, we make great partners.  We tend to be opposite where it helps and similar where it counts.  I’m tall, she’s short.  She’s a chatterbox, I’m quiet.  She’s an artist, I’m a seamstress.  She likes making phone calls, I hate talking on the phone.  I’m great on the computer, she’s great with the paintbrush.  She lives on the south side of town, I live on the north.   But, together, our vision for  what should be done to adorn the church is similar.

Last week, we “decorated” for Lent.  I put decorated in quotes because, for Lent, mostly what we do involves removing all extraneous items from the  altar and sacristy.  It needs to be bare, bleak, so our focus is on the cross. 

There’s a couple of items we normally use by the cross that we haven’t been able to find.  Part of me just shrugs and says oh well, no one will miss it, but the other part of me says it is just entirely too obvious that they are not there.  What’s missing?  The crown of thorns and the nails. 

As I looked up at it yesterday after communion it hit me that Christ wants all of me, all of my effort, not just a half-hearted attempt at doing something for Him.  If I’m in for a penny, I’m in for a pound.

Say a prayer I find what I’m looking for tonight, won’t you?

* * * * * * * * * * *

I wrote the above Monday morning with every intention of going to the Liturgy Committee meeting that night and stopping in the warehouse beforehand to look for the missing items.

I just could not do it. 

That night my penny and my pound were the same.  Everything I had to give was very little.  I'm counting on God understanding.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick Takes (24)

Last weekend Himself and I picked out paint colors for our hallway/foyer and living room.  I’m so excited.  We’ve been in our house almost eight years and this is the first painting we’ve done.  The prior owners has similar tastes as us, so it wasn’t a big deal, but putting our own mark on things is going to be fun.

Just after we moved in, my aunt and uncle from out of town came for a visit.  She took one look at the curtains in the living room and pronounced them ugly and they had to go.  Eight years later, I’m getting a start on that.  Tomorrow I’m heading to the home decorating fabric store and will pour through the many, many books of fabric.  I know what I want, I just have to find it.

Well, we’ve decided we’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and are looking into our diet and finding ways to eat better.  Instead of boring you all here on this blog with those details, I’m going to do that here, my new writing effort.  

I am so looking forward to the time change next weekend.  More light in the evenings will be great.  As the weather starts to get warmer I’ll try to get out in the yard more and finish cleaning up the gardens and picking up fallen tree branches. 

I’m placing the order today for our parish’s Easter flowers.  I’ve still got a bit of sewing to do as well.  I’ve got a feeling the next few weeks of Lent are going to fly by.  I had better get started.

I’m at a loss for one more thing to write at the moment, so I’ll grace you with a gratuitous picture of the cutest-dog-in-the-whole-wide-world!

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
GKC in Introduction to the Book of Job, 1907 
Check out more quick takes at Conversion Diary.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday (12)

Today I am thankful for.  .  .

Lent.  It has been a good Lent so far.  I've been tempted a couple of times to give in, but somehow I've managed to resist.  (Thanks prayer buddy!) 

The changing weather.  It was 68 degrees yesterday!  In February!  Got to love that.

Good books.  I've been reading a lot lately and really enjoying it.  So much to read, so little time!

Check out more things to be thankful for over at The Road Home.