Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Break, Relatively Speaking

Once again we headed south to find warmth and sunshine.  The drive down in pouring rain left us wondering if we would find the light we craved, but we knew our destination would provide the warmth.  It was the warmth you find in a relative's welcoming hug and tight embrace and the smile in their eyes when they see you arrive. And, as it was, the sunshine followed soon after.

We spent a few days with my aunt and uncle catching up on family doings and talking politics and news and the state of the world.  We played with the dogs and walked and rested.  I found a new-to-me quilt shop and added to my stash of fabric for my niece's quilt.  We even went for a drive in the Smokey Mountains and visited Cades Cove.  

It may not have been as warm as last year's trip, but it was a whole lot warmer than it was back home - 50s and 60s versus 20s and 30s - and to us that was heaven.  There may have even been fewer flowers in bloom this year versus last year, but, once again, there was much more than was blooming at home.

But we soaked in the vitamin D and breathed in the fragrant and fresh air and reminded ourselves that it was coming.  Soon, relatively soon, this sunshine and warmth would be at home. 

We just need to hold on a little bit longer.  Relatively speaking.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Socks – A Sign of Good Things to Come

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I sat down to put on my socks.  Jack got up from where he was laying on the floor watching me.  His tail was wagging so hard his hind quarters were swaying as if he was on a dance floor.  He was doing his happy dance.

Oh, he was happy.  He was excited.  You see, to him, when I put on my socks, it means we are going for a walk.  He is going to get to smell something new and mark trees and mail boxes and fence posts.  Something good was going to happen.

Unfortunately, for both of us, socks today meant I was going to work and not for a walk.  He’ll get his walk when I get home.
Lately, my "socks" has been the weather forecast.  Seeing a prediction of fifty rather than fifteen reminds me that Spring is on the way, a very good thing.  The flowers will bloom and the trees will bud and the harsh winter will be only a distant memory.

Sunshine, warm weather, and flowers makes me do my happy dance.  How about you?  What makes you dance?


Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Joseph, Pray For Us!

St. Joseph has always been near and dear to our hearts.  We often pray to him when we need guidance in our relationships, employment, and life in general.  Himself wrote the prayer above that we try to recite daily.

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Funny Foto #15 - Happy Birthday???

I was running some errands on Saturday when I came across this minivan.  Wrapped for freshness, perhaps?

The sign across the front window (that was blowing in the wind) wished the owner a Happy Birthday.   With friends like that I'm not sure she needs any enemies!


Friday, March 6, 2015

There’s No Place Like Gnome

While perusing blogs the other day I read this post over at Small Things.  Although all of Ginny's pictures are quite beautiful, one in particular caught my attention.  It wasn't one of the new baby goats that are so adorable that had me smiling.  It was the one of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange garden catalog.  It has Gnomes on it!  Lots and lots of Gnomes!

Seeing the Gnomes sent  me on a trip down Memory Lane.  When I was in high school we had to do a speech in one of my classes.  We had our choice of topics: either talk about an embarrassing moment in our lives and what we learned from it or give an informational, teaching talk.  Well, back then I was terribly, horribly, painfully shy so my most embarrassing moment would have been that speech, right then and there.

So, I decided to do the informational speech.  I had recently received the book Gnomes for Christmas and fell in love with these little people.  That would be my topic.

I told the class how Gnomes were small, elusive little people only about 15 centimeters tall and 250 to 300 grams in weight.  They live to be many hundreds of years old and dwell mostly in rural woodlands and farms.  Their senses are far superior to humans, and, like dogs, "see" much of the world through their noses.  It is estimated that they can smell nineteen times better than man!

At about the time a male Gnome turns 100 years old, he begins to think of marriage.  He must search far and wide for a bride, since Gnome populations are scattered and small.  Plump womenfolk, round of form, are the favorite.  Once he has found and won over his bride-to-be, the wedding will take place under the bride's birthday tree at midnight of a full moon. 

Gnome pregnancies always result in twins and last twelve months.  Their families used to be quite large, often with 10 or twelve children, but that is no longer the case. 

I continued to tell the class about Gnomes' relationships with the animals in their environments (they are quiet close) and about how they would entertain themselves (they love to play games).  I brought the book I had received as a present and showed the class some of the pictures.  It was noted that none of the pictures were actual photographs, but instead were paintings and sketches.  Since Gnomes are such private and elusive creatures no one has yet to be able to capture them on film.

Sometime during that speech I lost my shyness and spoke with such passion and conviction about these little people.  The girls in my class asked questions afterwards and walked away wondering if Gnomes actually existed and weren't just a myth.

That catalog cover will soon be adorning my soon-to-be-newly painted laundry room.  I wanted something whimsical and fun to hang on the wall and that artwork has me grinning ear-to-ear.

Gnome sweet Gnomes!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wonder Doubled: Use Your Words

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

Some vocations and avocations lend themselves to quick description.  Medical missionary, food pantry volunteer, retreat director, hospital chaplain , youth minister,  crisis pregnancy counselor are words which efficiently communicate the role each of these individuals play in forming the body of Christ.
Donna and I have participated in some of those same ministries ourselves over the years.  However, our efforts as a married couple have always focused on one area.  We try to share the Gospel through education, information and communication.
You can read the whole article here.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

First Photo: March 2015

Dear Winter,
I surrender!  You win.  I would wave a white flag but I doubt it would be seen with all the snow that lies on the ground and flies through the air. 
The cold of February was relentless.  The average high, a new record, didn't even make it to fifteen.  Fifteen!   You, Winter, drove us inside, to hide from the frostbite your miserable sub-zero winds can inflict. 
Yes, Winter, you win.  For now.  You cannot last forever.  Spring arrives this month, and with it the promise of new life and green grass and fragrant flowers.  All that may be hidden now under the knee high layer of snow, but it will arrive.   The birds singing at my window tell me so.
Most Insincerely,