Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Adult Coloring Books?

Back in the Fall I read a number of articles touting adult coloring books.  Supposedly these provide a new way to relax and de-stress.  I had a couple of sets of almost-never-used colored pencils sitting around, so I decided to give it a try.  After all, who couldn't use a new way to unwind?
I got on Amazon and did a search.  There are over twenty pages of these coloring books from which to choose and there seems to be something for everyone.  Nature appears to be good inspiration for those who create these.  I saw owls and oceans, plenty of trees, leaves, and flowers, dogs, cats, elephants and birds.  Did you know Unicorns Are Jerks
I learned quickly that I need to be cautious when perusing the selections.  There are those that have very "adult" themes, if you know what I mean.  I'm afraid to see what was in those!
I stumbled upon a bunch of faith themed books.  I finally found one that looked promising.  Two days later, my very own coloring book arrived. 
Before I could possibly color, I had to have something to organize my pencils.  So out came an old salad dressing jar and my glass etching compound.  I created a simple design with masking tape and slathered on the goop.  Five minutes later, I had a new-to-me pencil holder.
I chose a picture, tore it out of the book and started coloring.  What color to start with?  Do I shade or color in solid?
I found, for me, coloring ranks right up there (or is it down there) with paint by numbers.  It was frustrating and tedious.  I didn't relax at all.  I enjoyed making the jar so much more.
What am I missing?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jonas who?

I am old enough to remember the blizzard of 1978 that hit Ohio over a two day period.  It was a horrible, horrid storm that left over fifty people dead and many houses and buildings either damaged or destroyed.  People still talk about it.  But, it has never been called anything but the blizzard of '78.
By all accounts the storm that hit the east coast this weekend was brutal.  Large amounts of snow paralyzed cities and millions of people were impacted.  "Jonas" will talked about for days, weeks and years to come.
How is it that storms are anthropomorphized and given names but babies in the womb are dehumanized, ripped apart and tossed out? 
That this storm happened the weekend of the Roe v. Wade anniversary is not lost on me.
It's a weird, weird world we live in.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Ten Dollar Dream

If you are anything like me, last week you did something you normally don’t do – you bought a lottery ticket.  The chance at one point four billion dollars seemed kind of hard to pass up.
I think once the ticket was purchased the day dreaming and planning began.  What to do with all that money?  Perhaps pay off the mortgage or do a little remodeling.  Buy a car or take a trip.  How soon before I would quit my job?  Whom would I tell?  What charities did I want to fund and friends and family would I help?  Decisions, decisions.
I read an article in which businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave advice to a potential lottery winner.
If you weren't happy yesterday, you won't be happy tomorrow.  It's money.  It's not happiness.
If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow.  It's money.  Life gets easier when you don't have to worry about the bills.
I splurged and bought five chances.  Ten bucks.  Instead of telling the cashier to give me a winner, which I am sure she hears that one all day, I told her to give me some losers.  And you know what?  She listened.
It was fun to think of all the possibilities, even if it was just for a day or two.  And, I’m still as happy as I was before I bought the ticket.  Just ten dollars poorer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

. . . and a Brambling in a Pear Tree

We were feeling a bit restless after Mass on New Year’s Day, so we decided to head to the park for a walk.  It was cold, but tolerable, and it certainly beat staying cooped up in the house all day.  As we neared the park we saw a bunch of people by the side of the road.  They were donned in their best and warmest camouflage parkas.  Many carried cameras and spotting scopes that would make even professional photographers and army marksmen jealous.

When we pulled into the park, we saw that this was apparently a really big “to do” as cars filled the lot and extended out along the driveway.  Signs pointed to an overflow parking area.  We guessed that all these people were bird watching, perhaps for a bald eagle that has been known to frequent the area.  But this seemed a little extreme.

We went for our hike, enjoying the quiet and the slowly falling snowflakes.  Near the end of our walk we saw a couple come out of a distant trail and head towards their car.  Since they were parked near us, and I’m known to be nosy, I asked them what was going on.

A Brambling had been spotted in the area.  Huh?

It’s a small bird, native to Europe and Asia, and hasn’t been seen in these parts since 1978.  Someone had spotted one a few weeks earlier, keeping company with a flock of finches.

As we drove home, we chuckled.  Everyone has their thing, and apparently this was theirs.  We often consider ourselves “birders” but not like that.  I don’t have the patience to stand for hours in hopes of possibly, maybe, if I’m lucky, seeing a particular bird.  When I see an unfamiliar bird my yard or neighborhood or walks in the park, I’ll look it up.

After we got home, Himself went online and looked up this Brambling.  When he showed me pictures of this bird we both laughed.

We need to rewind a week here . . .

On Christmas Eve the weather, for December, was awesome.  It was sunny and in the low sixties.  In the early afternoon we needed a break from cooking and cleaning and prepping for our celebration and company the next day.  We grabbed a cup of coffee and sat on the patio for a while.  Himself remarked at the number of Robins that were still in the area.  They seemed to like this weather, as well, and hadn’t flown south yet.

I looked at the birds and said that they weren’t Robins, some of them were too small and they were eating the fruit left in the Bradford Pear tree.  Robins like insects.  I got out my Birds of North America book.  After looking at all the birds and reading about Robins, I finally gave up the argument and conceded that they were, in fact, Robins.

The day after New Year’s, we were back at the park for another walk.  The crowd had grown even larger.  As a car with out of state license plates drove by us, we just looked at each other and smiled.  What some people waited and searched for, we had in our own backyard.

A Brambling in a Pear Tree!  ♫

Happy Epiphany!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed


Monday, January 4, 2016


The eleven faithful Apostles


Sunday, January 3, 2016

On the Tenth Day

Ten Commandments
“The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity.  It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”
– GK Chesterton, ILN 1-3-20


Saturday, January 2, 2016

On the Nineth Day

Choirs of Angels


Friday, January 1, 2016

First Photo: January 2016

When I started posting my "First Photos" back in January of 2014 I wasn't sure I would stick to it.  After all, I'm pretty good with coming up with some new idea for a regular post and then having it slowly, or not so slowly, fade into the background.

But, not only did I stick with it, I have managed to do so for two years.  Yeah me!  There is something about seeing how the same view changes month after month but yet is still the same that intrigues me. 

These last two years I chose trees to photograph.  In 2014 it was a Linden Tree in our backyard and in 2015 it was a stand of trees in what we call the boulder garden in our front yard.  There wasn't always a significant change in the photos from month to month.

This year I decided to document my flower garden behind the house.  Yes, there's still a tree in the picture, but it isn't the focus.  This garden was designed to change throughout the growing season, so hopefully it will yield some interesting pictures.  If nothing more, this may force me to actually mulch it this year!


Eighth Day - Handmaid of the Lord


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is kingdom of heaven.

Perhaps it is fitting that the eighth day of Christmas falls on the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary. 

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

What better example of living the Beatitudes can we have?