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.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Walking the Labyrinth

Back in August, I was on the west coast for work.  On my last evening there, I spent some time in a local quilt shop.  I still had several hours before I had to be at the airport for my red-eye flight home.   I had read about The Grotto in Portland, so I decided to visit.
The property was bought and developed as an answer to a promise Fr. Ambrose Mayer made as a young boy.   His mother was near death after giving birth to his sister.  He prayed for their survival and vowed to do a great work for the church.  He found a large plot of land that, with help, he purchased and built a tribute to Mary.  A large grotto was hewn out of the cliff left behind when the land was quarried by the Union Pacific Railroad for their rail beds.
An elevator ride to the top of the cliff leads to a second part of the property that was developed as parkland with areas for reflection and prayers.  There are areas dedicated to St. Joseph, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, various saints, and, of course, the Virgin Mary.
Tucked away in a secluded spot is a labyrinth.  Designed as a replica of the medieval labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France, this is supposed to offer an opportunity for meditation and contemplation as one walks to the center and back out again.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious about the whole thing.  It always seemed contrived and gimmicky, verging on new-agism, to me.  But, since I had time, and no one was around, I figured I would give it a try. 
I walked it slowly and deliberately, saying a few prayers, thanking God for productive trip and asking for a safe journey home.  I don't remember everything I thought about as I moved through it.  I had a few insights to some personal situations with which I have been struggling. 

For someone who is not good sitting in quiet prayer, I can see how the labyrinth could be helpful.  Moving through the path helped me quiet my mind.  I don't think I need a labyrinth to do that, though.  Our local parks provide an opportunity to walk, enjoy peaceful surroundings, and have prayer time with our Lord. 



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Funny Foto #19: Baby on Board?

Last week at lunchtime I made a quick stop at Home Depot.  As I got out of my car, I noticed the vehicle across from me not only had the yellow Baby on Board sign, the same message was on the license plate frame.
I was tempted to wait for the owner to come back.  I  wanted to find out if the very loud German Shepard or the Doberman that had laid down was "baby".

Monday, October 3, 2016

eighteen: Endearing and Enduring

Eighteen years ago I said I do.  I am not certain I grasped the full extent of that little phrase.  All I knew was that I was marrying the love of my life.  How little that love then is compared to what it is now!
We are frequently amazed that it has been, in fact, eighteen years.  It seems like yesterday and it seems like forever.  I don’t remember what life was like before him.  It’s as if he has always been a part of my life.
I love how we can know what the other is thinking with just a look, no words needed.  But when we do use our words, we  have our own jokes, our own “isms”, our own sayings.  Things that make us “us”.
We often say that we have both endearing qualities and enduring ones.  The endearing ones are the those traits that are sweet and kind and good.  They are the ones that probably attracted us to the other in the first place.  But, when one of us does some lame or annoying, we often joke “that’s just one of your enduring  qualities.”  It’s just something that we just put up with, probably not one of our best moments.
Although it wasn’t one of the readings at our nuptial mass, I reread one of the more popular wedding readings, 1 Corinthians 13, today. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In a sermon, our pastor once suggested replacing the word “Love” with our own names.  I tried it and found that as I go through all those qualities that love is supposed to be, my tone changes.  They start out as statements but quickly turn to questions.  Am I patient, or kind?  Do I rejoice in the truth? 
Those are the qualities I see in Himself and the ones I hope he sees in me.  They are ones the are durable and lasting.  And, hopefully we'll have eighteen or twenty-eight or a whole lot more years together to work on our enduring qualities!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

TToT(18): It's Fall!

one:  It's Fall!!  I am certainly loving the weather that comes with it. 
two:  I finally am enjoying my gardens.  Other than watering them in the summer's heat, I didn't spend too much time in them this year.
three:  The new dahlias that we purchased and planted are doing well, at least two of them are.  We picked out three new ones, but the tubers of one just rotted in the ground.  The other two, however, are doing great as you can see below.
four:  The pot on the patio turned out great, if I must say so myself.  And, even better, it was cheap.  The only thing bought was the curly grass.  The ivy was started from a clipping of a house plant that I have.  The zinnia profusion was started from seed which I "obtained" last year by deadheading a plant at a local historical home.   
five:  I had another work trip this week.  All went well, and it was quick - leave Monday morning and home on Wednesday evening.  And, we had an evening of site-seeing.  More on that later in the month.
six:  We had new backyard visitors.  Although we know turkeys are in the area, in the twelve years that we have lived here, we have never seen them in the yard.  I still haven't, but Himself did and got a few shots of them.  Thanksgiving anyone??? 
seven:  Did I mention that the weather has been great?  We've been enjoying the hammock a lot these last few weekends.
eight:  The Hairy Beast has been a good dog, except when he isn't.  But most of the time good, so we'll count that as a plus. 
nine:  Said Hairy Beast requires lots of walks, which is probably a very good thing.  I get out to our local parks and I get exercise. 
ten:  The little, local airport has a "wings and wheels" event a couple weeks ago.  People park their planes and old cars on the tarmac for viewing.  A number of planes that aren't normally in the area come for the event.  As they come and go, they usually fly over our house, a nice view from the hammock. 

Check out more goodness at one of these hosts:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

First Photo: October 2016

I waved the white flag last month, admitting that the heat of summer had gotten the best of me.  We endured a couple more weeks of unseemly heat.  I wanted so much to just hide in the cool recesses of the air conditioned house. 
And then it changed.  Glorious, wonderful, sweet cooler temps.  Oh, Fall, you are my favorite!
"How shall I show my love is proved by deeds? Well - the little child will strew flowers...she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with silvery voice the canticle of love.
Yes, my Beloved, it is thus that my life's brief day shall be spent before Thee. No other means have I of proving my love than to strew flowers; that is, to let no little sacrifice escape me, not a look, not a word, to avail of the very least actions and do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee...and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns - and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song."
Story of A Soul, Chapter XI
St. Therese Lisieux