Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thank You, Father

Dear Father God,

Sometimes I imagine You with my small human brain just bursting forth with life and love like an explosion, like a geyser, like a lava eruption.  I am covered by Your love.  The whole world is covered by Your love.  Thank You for all the good gifts and all the chances to make my life into the beautiful journey You planned for me, for Your patience when I got off course and Your guidance when I only halfway trusted or believed.

The life I have had has been fabulous, joyful and lovely.  Thank You for the course corrections and the encouragements.  Thank You for loving me when I could not love myself.  As the song says--Your grace is enough.

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Edition of Tuesday Treasures--Come and Play With Me (Revisited)

On Tuesday I used to invite you to share your treasures.  I love to visit girlfriend's house and see the apron made by her great grandmother or her sister's bracelet.  On Tuesday I used to share some of the stuff I have. My treasures.

With today's entry I must truly admit I am a packrat, there is not denying the evidence.  I have had these paper dolls for over 50 years.  They have moved with me to Japan, Hawaii, Florida, the Lou.  Perhaps they have escaped culling because they are so small and they fit in with all the papers and books I have.  But, if I am honest I have to admit they were one of my very favorite toys.  I am not sure that I even saved them to play with a child or grandchild.  I really love my paper dolls.  I don't think I would risk seeing them torn up if they were played with my some child who didn't treasure them.

These are my paper dolls.  I had a girlfriend when I was 6 or seven who played paperdolls with me.  We both had the Nursery Dolls set and she had some other grown up one.
Do you recognize this raven haired beauty?  ***Edited because when I wrote this Elizabeth Taylor was still alive.***I am just so endlessly thankful that she is still alive and I don't have to explain to all you little girls who she is.  I am sure you don't recognize her from the way she looks today.  But once upon a time she was stunning.  National Velvet is the clue if you are into old movies.


Yes, she is Elizabeth Taylor.  A long long time ago.  Hard to imagine isn't it?
 I did think of having a fashion parade with Elizabeth modeling each and every lovely outfit, but I decided to leave that to your imaginations.
These are lovely 1950s styles though.  A little too retro for today's tastes.***Or maybe not?***
The Nursery Dolls were a whole different story.  Both my friend Suzy and I were the oldest of four children, two boys and two girls so we saw ourselves in this doll family.  I think we also to some extent saw our future selves with children, but we were young enough to identify with these young dolls.  I noticed that I had carefully wrapped each wardrobe in a napkin so that it stayed separate from the other doll's clothing.

Each doll was carefully located in its own place.

 How well I remember each outfit.  Changing these babies for every imagined event was the fun of paper dolls.
I wonder if the little boy's hand is tired from being raised for more than 50 years.

I wonder what to do with them.  I don't think they would display well.  Can you imagine framed paper dolls?  Me neither.  As I mentioned I don't really want to watch some other little girl rip them up.  I took such special care of them all these years.  Well, they don't take up much space.  I will just keep them a while longer.  Some things aren't meant to be decided today.

And this is a week for running behind. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Knowing God

I suppose that the conclusion I have come to (and many saints and spiritual writers have also come to) believe that the essential purpose of the journey of life is to know God more and more each day.  I think that as a young person I was headed in that direction, but life got in the way and I started to doubt the God I knew.

I really don't remember the teaching that God is love being very much part of my early formation.  That mainly consisted of memorizing prayers and commandments and hearing about how everything was sin.  Everything that was fun or pleasurable or happy.  Church and things church were serious and there were so many ways to sin without intending to.  And yes, I learned that sin was choosing to act against God, but I also learned that if I didn't know about some sin that it was my fault for not knowing, so therefore, sin.  There were tricks and double crosses.

And from the Protestants who were part of my close extended family I learned that  God rewarded the good and those He was pleased with.  (There were a good many Calvinists in that group.) So when Life gave me lemons, punishment.  I spent a good bit of time ducking lemons.

When I was about twelve I experienced bullying on the bus too and from school.  It wasn't so much that I was the aim of the bullying, but a girl with mental challenges was tormented and I found that I couldn't abandon her even if I wanted to.  (And I often wanted to.  I even walked home the several miles or intentionally missed the bus so that my dad would have to drop me off to get relief from the torment.)  Most of the time I was very aware that the only thing a Christian could do was sit with this girl and fend off the bullying as much as possible.

But, one night I at my prayers I turned to God and asked for a new way to pray.  If God knew everything, then He knew that the "Hail, Mary" and the "Our Father" weren't giving me a closer relationship with God.  I begged God for a new way to pray.  And He gave me a new way.  I began to see things on a deeper, spiritual plain.

Monday, October 27, 2014

So, Monday

It was a whirlwind weekend just past.  I had Friday off due to endless conferences the previous nights.  On Friday I got the oil changed in my car.  I picked up meds for the surgery next month.  And I enjoyed the sunshine.  But, Saturday I ran up to Quincy.  It was time to visit Mom and the side benefit was that my dad's brother, and his wife, or another way of saying it is--my uncle and aunt from Virginia were visiting.  I treasure my times with them.  It is a last contact with someone who knew my dad as a child.  Since my dad has been gone over 30 years I hunger for memories of him.

But, today it is Monday and back to work.  It will be a busy, busy week.  I am catching up on some stuff that had gotten behind last year when my high school student quit.  I had to move my busiest day of student check outs from last week to today because of the doctor's appointment last Wednesday.  It always sounds like a good idea until I am faced with a busy week.

Now that the surgery is pinned down, I am going strong in preparation for the book fair the week before the week of Thanksgiving.  Busy, busy times.

And now it is just getting through a busy week and knowing that the week that follows will be busy with medical appointments from ultra sounds to the dentist.

And this isn't much of a post, but it is what is on my mind.....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Prayers

Lord, the beauty of the earth is amazing.  Such am I that I can say, "nice," instead of stopping to drink in the gift.  I thank You for this day and all the days of beauty and wonder.  I thank You for the gifts which I walk right by.  I thank You for stopping me and helping me to see what is right in front of me.  I thank You for teaching me day by day not to want more but to give more.  Amen

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The 60s

I am a true baby boomer, born in the 1950s.  My middle to late childhood was in the 1960s and that is the touchstone of my childhood memories.  Now that mid-century modern is a thing and the houses I lived in that were brand spanking new in my childhood are old, I have sometimes reflected on the 60s.  I won't do an exhaustive study here, just a few reflections from a mid-century modern gal.

We lived in a hip roofed ranch house through most of the 1960s.  We moved on up to the suburbs from a small rural village when I started kindergarten.  I was in fifth grade when Kennedy was assassinated.   People tend to romanticize the past ages.  I remember that we never had air conditioning in our homes and the whole neighborhood would be outside and the adults would talk and the kids would ride tricycles up and down the sidewalk.  Our television was black and white until after I went to college.  I remember my dad remarking that even ads and boring shows drew your attention when they were in color.

We got all the childhood diseases--chicken pox, measles, mumps.  I had a friend who got leukemia and died, because that was what you did back then, there was not cure and very little in the way of treatments.  I took a polio vaccine on a sugar cube.  That was a good thing, because I had an uncle who had polio.  The doctor sometimes made house calls and when there was an emergency we sometimes drove to his office and not to the hospital.

Almost every family had at least 3 or 4 kids.  An only child was a rare peculiarity and to be pitied.  We lived in small houses.  Usually 3 bedrooms--a boys room, a girls room and a parent's room and usually, if you played inside, it was in your room or in the basement.  In the summer you played outside.  Lunch was usually soup and sandwiches and dinner which we called supper was something cooked that contained a meat, a vegetable and a starch and dessert.  My mom was big on desserts and she served them for lunch and sometimes for breakfast (at least that is what I called it when I finished off with a donut after the cereal).

Anyway, that is enough for now.  If I go on longer, it will become a boring post for Saturday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes

Jennifer Fulwiler hosts this carnival of the blogs.  Welcome, if you are a visitor from there.

1. I get a lot of "hits" on my pictures of the Advent By Candlelight tables from that event at my church for the past few years.  I decided last year that it was my last time hostessing a table for a while. It seems to me that my church does things in a competitive fashion and I just couldn't keep up with the pressure.  It isn't that I worried for myself that I wasn't good enough, I just didn't want guests who looked around at the other tables and wished they were there.  This year the powers that be decided that the hostess should provide a light meal for the guests and just make desserts for their own tables.  That is what some of the women wanted who didn't want to share fancy desserts and wanted to provide a meal for their guests. 

As for me, I was just able to make some desserts the night before and get there to set up the table.  I planned out things for months ahead, but the physically carrying things in and then out of the church hall at the end of the night was exhausting.  I just can't do it. So this year I am resting.  I am going to Advent not as a hostess trying to provide a luscious feast for 8 to 10 women after a long day of work, but as a penitent who stays home if no one asks me to their table.


2. I got a new cell phone this past weekend.  It is so pretty and white.  I also changed carriers.  I will have to see how that goes.  They offer classes on smart phones.  It seems a little unnecessary.  But, I only just figured out how to shut off data on my old smart phone. As I look at the new one I haven't a clue how to turn the data off.

3. I had parent teacher conferences on Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, and afternoon to evening on Thursday.  On Friday I will rest.  Nobody really needs to talk to me.  I saw a few of the book club kids and former book club kids.  Otherwise I cleaned out drawers and processed and repaired books and ordered $1000 worth of books.  I put fines in the system so that kids will get bills with their report cards.  I set up the book fair and a plan for the February book fair.  I stayed busy.  It is hard to stay at school until 8pm though.  It makes for a very long day.

4. I took Wednesday, the feast day of John Paul II, off of school during the day to go to a new doctor about the fibroid issue I have.  The hope was that I could have a procedure done that would only require one day of recovery.  It has a really long Latin name, this procedure.  I had been preparing myself to be told that I couldn't have that procedure and would be told that for me there was only a hysterectomy.  And I had been praying hard for the one day procedure with the quick recovery.  After several hours with the doctor and another test scheduled to make sure, it looks like I will have the one day procedure and it is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. Thank You, Lord, for this mercy.  The doctor was one of the nicest I have ever been to.  He talked and talked and was interested in my long and sad gynecological history.

5. One of the good things about the phone/camera thing I see is that parents always have a camera to document the moments of their kid's lives.  As long as that doesn't get taken too far, that is great.  I was happy to see the parents of one of my readers documenting his accomplishments on the reading board.  So nice that it isn't just sports that gets noticed.

6. There has been glorious fall weather this week.  The trees are all decked out and looking fabulous. (And this is a placeholder.)  Also, the great horned owl has been hooting on our roof in the middle of the night again this week.  Hubs calls him Hooty.




7. I have been so busy and tired lately that my deep prayer time has gotten short shrift.  As I sat the other day and wasn't feeling very prayerful it came to me again that it isn't about the feeling and I just had to sit in prayer, even if I wasn't feeling it.  Whenever I started to get distracted I started or continued the rosary and I was able to get back into prayer again.  Good advice, if I can just remember it. Prayer isn't about the feeling.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thank You, Father

Dear Father God,

Thank You for creating the universe and the stars and planets and setting them all in motion and time.  Such a gift You made for me.  Thank You for the time and place You set me into motion.  Thank You for my life and all of its gifts and challenges.  Thanks for all the days to come to try to know and understand You as my small mind allows.

Thank You for the mystery and the wonder of it all!

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five Favorites, Again!

The "Call Her Happy" blog author sent me an email inviting me to join into the 5 favorites that she is hosting.  When the favorites started moving to different hosts, I lost the 5 favorite interest.  It is hard to come up with 5 favorites every week.  Lots of things I am indifferent about or so-so about, and not "5 favorite" about.  But, I have decided to give it a whirl again this week.

5 Favorite Fall Foods.

In my house the oven is banned during the hot season which lasts from April to October around here.  So once a good space of fall weather hits I bake up a storm.  Hence, many of the favorite fall foods are oven dishes.

1. Apple Crisp.
I peel and slice up the apples.  Taste for sweetness.  If they are sour, add sugar.  If they are pretty sweet, sprinkle a little sugar.  Dash with some cinnamon and a little bit of salt.  Then melt some butter into some oatmeal.  Add a little sugar and dash in some cinnamon and salt.  If I want to be fancy, splash in some vanilla.  Before I put the oatmeal on top, I run the microwave about 4 or 5 minutes with the apples.  Then top with the oatmeal mix and bake for about 20 minutes in the oven.  (Can you tell I make it up as I go along?)


2. Meat Loaf 
I usually make "mini meatloaves."  They are one serving sized. I use a Weight Watchers recipe and modify it. 

3. Lasagna
I make up my own recipe for this as well. But, it is pretty basic, no secret ingredients.


4. Soups (not baked, but cool weather food)
I do this. Or this.  Or this.

5. Italian Baked Chicken
Bake chicken in Italian salad dressing for about an hour.  Whatever chicken you like--whole, skinless breasts, wings,  your choice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Casting the First Stone

Let the one without sin cast the first stone.....

I was praying about criticism.  As a child, as a parent, as a spouse, as a teacher, I have criticized and I have been criticized.  Criticism is different than telling someone what you would like them to do.  It really is. Criticism is like throwing stones at people.  It hurts and it doesn't cause them to love or desire to please.  It may engender fear or hatred.  In fact it seems to me that criticism is like sending out little jabs of hate.

A better strategy, it seems to me is to either be a broken record in requesting the thing that you want done, or doing it yourself, or lowering your standard and letting it go.  If you are sending out a lot of criticism I would ask you to ask yourself--what do you want to accomplish by the criticism? Fear, hatred, submission to your will?  And why do you feel the need to criticize someone else?  Would you throw heavy stones at someone else?  Are you, yourself perfect, without sin?

And so, I am trying to lay down the sin of criticism and become the person I am called to be.