Archive for the tag “my words”

stops and starts

i wanted to call this post: a nightbook. stealing the phrase from one of my favorite people. but i didn’t. because it’s not fair to steal other people’s ideas without asking first and since she is on the other side of the ocean that might take too long!

besides, given the nature of these photographs and what i wanted to talk about, stops and starts sounded more appropriate.

life is a  lot like these flowers. beautiful. promising. sweet-smelling. and colorful. and then it fades.

and then you wither. die. and end up laying on top of a piano?

no. really i was going somewhere with this. but i am extremely distracted by a new kitty. and the swooshing sound of pens on paper as the two middles lie on my bed next to me and draw. it really is a delightful sound. not distracting in a bad way.

the fact that my allergies are acting up really badly and i am typing with one eye closed could have something to do with the loss of my poetic train of thought.

i guess what i meant to say is when life fades. and loses color. buy a new one?

nope. not that either.

just buy some new flowers i guess.

i have nothing. as my husband says when he is at a loss for words.

except maybe this….

“she endured. and survived. marginally perhaps, but it is not required of us that we live well.” ~anne cameron

not my words. no.

but i like the idea of living well

something good to chew on as we head into a new school year.

a new season of  wonderful dead things which late summer and then fall brings.

a season of stops and starts of all sorts.

picking things up and putting them down again is good for the soul.

always praying for discernment.

for what should be stopped and started.

and for the courage to get back up when you fall down.

liturgically speaking, august began with peter in chains.

and immediately i could relate to those chains. bound. constricted. and many times because of my own pride. 

i can relate to so much about peter.


willing to serve our Lord so readily, yet skulking away at the first sign of danger. hiding. denying.  

yet feeding lambs and fishing for souls.

these are all things i do.

or at least i try.

much like this prince of the apostles i try.

to do the will of God.

to say i love YOU with more than just my lips.

“not in the multitude of words but in the purity of heart.” ~st. benedict

but sometimes living well means being humiliated.

and even being crucified upside down.

by the world’s standards, no, that is not living well.

perhaps that is something we should all stop.

measuring ourselves by the world’s standards.

because much like that prince of the apostles i, too, am called by God.

to this particular vocation. in this particular home. in this particular family. at this particular point in time.

there are no accidents with God.

i may not be able to relate to the idea of being something solid. like a rock.


maybe i’m just simon.

without the peter.

nevertheless….”every VOCATION becomes more agreeable when united with DEVOTION” ~st. francis de sales

devotion to a SOMEONE.

WHO makes you believe you can walk on water.

even choppy waters.

cold? wet? tired?

those are perfectly normal feelings.

HE is still there to calm the storms.

 until we are ready to start again.

“Lord, save me!” the rock cried.

that just might very well be my motto for this 2011-2012 school year.

it worked for him after all.

so i sort of  found some of my words.

but now my foot is asleep…which is a hint that the rest of my body should be doing the same thing.

goodnight, friends.

i do so love that rosary, btw, barb.

it was just what i needed.

thank you.


very much

geesh. i just realized how very much i used the words very much in yesterday’s post.

yet you were all so kind!!!

and then i went and changed things again….

excepting my proclivity for using the words very much…

for i very much love our weedy-sunflower “trees”. they grow multiple sunflowers. and they are so tall and colorful. and they last well into summer.

i very much love the little boy who arranged this car club gathering on my ironing board.

(i might start using the word little boy rather than baby…because, well, just because he isn’t really a baby anymore.)

 i very much love the flowers on this little plant…picked for me by the biggest boy…and how they brighten up the spot in my kitchen where i stand and wash countless dishes….because i am too lazy to load things into the dishwasher!

so, friends, what are you very much loving right now????

little i

i had a break down of sorts today.

i am disenchanted about a lot of things and people in my life that i have no control over.

mostly teenagers and dripping faucets.

both can be so annoying.

picking the weirdest times of the day to, well, annoy me.

i took a warm bath this morning.

perhaps that is how it began….

water can be so cleansing in many different ways.

and then i think i went back to bed.

i cried a few times.

it felt so therapeutic.

and then i had a warm cup of green tea with lemon.

no coffee for once.

i didn’t want to feel jittery and energized.

i wanted quiet, calm peace.

the kind that comes when you’ve “cried till you have no more tears left in you.”

and i did feel “as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

i also prayed like i haven’t prayed in a while.

and really, that is what i needed.

little i. big HIM.

we do this sort of tango.

i know HE is there.

it’s passionate and intimate and beautiful.

and then there are days and days when i don’t make the time to have a good heart to heart with HIM.

and HE gets jealous.

and i, being the fallen human being that i am, tend to look at prayer as ONE MORE THING i need to do, but don’t really want to…

because i am tired and achy and stressed.

and there are dripping faucets and teenagers. and junk everywhere. and laundry. and it’s 102 degrees outside.

and i am a control freak-weak-minded-sloth.

“christianity is not easy: the great religious struggle is not fought on a spectacular battleground, but within the ordinary human heart, when every morning we awake and feel the pressures of the day crowding in on us, and we must decide what sort of immortals we wish to be.”

yeah, so i am quoting a lot of c.s. lewis.

but sometimes someone else’s words are better.

they sound better than my own pithy, pitiful jibberish.

i do detest pithy, pitiful jibberish…and speaking of such…the baby just woke up from a pouty nap he was taking on my bed…he, too, is feeling sorry for himself.

it’s so hard to be bored.

this kid wants constant entertainment.

so i guess i will do us all a favor and get off of here and go find something to do…

thanks for letting me vent, friends.

i don’t know why it is so easy for me to do it here….quietly, yet strangely outloud…in the blogosphere.

free samples.

it’s why my kids help me make things.

they like to have their fingers in everything.

sometimes clean. sometimes not.

the other day the baby made his sister a glass of strawberry lemonade and i happened to mention: did you remember to wash those strawberries first?

and all i heard was a quiet: oops.

horrified at this culinary faux pas, she didn’t finish said glass of strawberry lemonade.

she didn’t finish the sweetness.

because the bitterness of what might be in there was too much to swallow.

if i must glory i will glory in the things that concern my weakness…that the power of CHRIST may dwell in me.

those words leapt off the page and into my heart during mass.

they reminded me of his sweet little offering.

and our intentions.

and i can relate.

because lent is coming.

am i ready?

yes and no.

i feel a lot like the baby.

like i have something to offer.

but my hands are dirty.

and i am too weak to head into the desert of contemplation.

for forty whole days.

whole being the key word.

but that is really the reason for the journey, is it not?

that we will be made whole.

without diminution or exception; entire, full, or total.

the Church in her wisdom knows we’ve been feasting too much. and not exercising enough. and there is no glory in that.

that doesn’t make us full.

containing all the elements properly belonging; complete.
i have never properly belonged anywhere.
and quite often confuse who i am with what i do.
undivided; in one piece.
the idea of being in one piece greatly appeals to my innate sense of order. yet achieving order is another thing.
not broken, damaged, or impaired; intact.
yet HIS power is made perfect weakness.
yes, that means in my broken. impaired. damaged heart.
uninjured or unharmed; sound.
the idea that we can somehow get through this life uninjured and unharmed is something i cling to.
especially as my kids get bigger and venture out further and further away from the safety and ideals of here.
the simplicities of childhood become a mixed-up. dangerous tangle of boyfriends. girlfriends. friends with cars. driving. motorcycles. ipods and cell phones.
that’s what i call it.
things they once played with so innocently become more real
bigger. and important.
bigger than me.

life and things are so easily muddied. and muddled.

a mess of dirty offerings.

they’re all i have.

flustered. i find myself reaching through walls as they leave.

some literal. others figurative.

to give a blessing.

in the Name of the Father. and of the Son. and of the Holy Ghost.

they can’t see me.

is it still effective?

this hidden, imperfect blessing of mine?

sometimes settling is all one can do.

when circumstances and obstacles seem overwhelming.

resting assured that those same circumstances and obstacles are not accidental.

i taste and see His goodness constantly.

He is THE sweetness that never ends.

a free sample if you will.

for our grubby fingers to partake.

HE is unimpaired. undiminished. perfect. complete.

and i can be those things too.

in spite of the millions of oops that are mine. (some quiet. others not so.)

daring to grasp and to finish that sweetness.

even if it means swallowing some of the bitterness too.

standing myself on the outside waiting for an unseen blessing.

because the power of Christ dwells in me.

and you too.

happy monday, friends!

lacking a conclusion

i gather the lace tablecloth into a ball.

little bits of crumbs fall back onto the table.

even lace has holes.

pieces of the weekend come spilling out of my heart.

a heart overflowing with happiness for healing and grace freely given.

it is late monday but i can feel the love that is still here.

i recall the taste of a glass of shared orange champagne.

smiling  i think of the way it tickled my tongue.

two spoons and one serving of tiramisu.

a movie with my mama.

venturing out again. together. alone.

she holds my arm. a sign of her fragility. and vulnerability.

shadows from her fall lurk around every corner. and with every step.

all of life is so fragile.

we are bones. flesh. blood.

i remember: even lace has holes.

holes are the weaknesses.

things fall through.

yet the delicate fabric of who we are is durable.

and we can soak up so much goodness.

the goodness that is:

::falling asleep to the sound of rain.

the downpour a soothing symphony to the places that ache.

::sunday holiness. awe. praise.

early morning mass.

adoration. contrition. thanksgiving. supplication.

Spirit Food.

no crumbs there.

only Wholeness. and Completeness.

and strength in HIS Flesh and Blood.

i pause and ponder:

how is it that we so quickly outgrew that stage of fitting in just one pew?

my loves are sprinkled throughout the small chapel.

how does such a small chapel contain so much love?

because love is not something that can be contained.

it manifests itself in so many different ways.

and when i am not looking it slips right through those holes and sinks down into my deepest. darkest places…and resides with me.

even in my crumb-iness…

there is an echo of voices and i snap out of it.

stories are being read by my girl and my mama.

they fumble. trying to figure out where they left off last.

so much of life is fumbling and trying to figure out where you left off last….

the read aloud: the swiss family robinson.

so many interesting things to make small talk about.

there is a catch in my throat.

i had hoped these days would come again.

days where we’d hear and feel all of these things again.

will it all fall through again?

maybe. probably.

yes, definitely.

i take those words and set them aside for now.

life has too many holes and crumbs to think about.

and after much fumbling myself:

i leave this post without a conclusion…

a pouring out

our collective stories of personal epiphanies. wise men and seeing stars. big and little miracles and trustful surrender. wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things unless they point to the fact that: GOD is all.

that is my motto for 2011.

i didn’t choose it.

it chose me 13 days ago when a wise man told me: “you must come to the mountains with your mother.”

“we never know,” he said, “how much time we have with the ones we love.”

“yes, daddy,” i said. ” i will go.”

i won’t lie and say that i didn’t briefly entertain all of the things i could get done with my husband working out of town. (maybe just sending the little kids in my stead, as i have done before).

but none of that matters now. because i did go.

and there was the miracle of snow. “i prayed for snow and God heard.” said the baby to me.

his beaming face so close to mine that i could feel his sweet breath.

there were deer.

and beautiful stars in the clear night sky.

life is so overflowing with miracles and God listening.

because what happened there. in that desolate place.

surrounded by majestic mountain peaks reaching higher than i could ever imagine climbing and pines hundreds of years old.

was one of those soul wounding, yet grace-filled moments.

that make you realize how every detail in our lives is so carefully placed and orchestrated by the hands of THE Creator.

for in that cozy home on a hill. a home that always has been.and still is. a place of refuge for us. when the busyness of life is almost too much to bear. my dear mother had a terrible accident. she lost her balance somehow in the split-level dining room and fell to the stone floor in the family room. hitting her head on a little wooden school desk on the way down she fractured her skull.

it all happened so fast.

in a literal instant our peace was shattered.

my little girl’s words: “help her mama, she fell.”

did not prepare me for the impact of finding my mother unconcious in a pool of blood.

a blow to her head. a blow to my heart.

panic and hysteria set in so rapidly.

how could this be? i kept thinking. she cannot die like this.

how could we be happily chatting about what we’d have for lunch. sipping tea by the fire and getting ready to do some hand-sewing one minute and in this terrible predicament the next?

we were alone. my girl. my mama and i.

my dad had taken the boys on a hike and the snow prevented me from doing so many things.

with limited cell phone service and what seemed like a million other obstacles we stepped outside of time and into eternity to entreat the help of Something. SOMEONE much greater than all of those obstacles.

stepping outside of those parameters of time can be so awful for those us bound in time. because every minute seems like an endless eternity itself.

the help that was to be had from 911 operators. firemen. paramedics. was all hindered by the snow and our location.

constantly shifting from that hysteria to anger. to shivering from fright. and/or cold. numbly. foggily. mechanically. i began to do what i could.

scared. limited. stupid. feebly. i began doing my best in my imperfect state of trust, the only rational thing that came to my mind: call repeatedly on THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS. and His Blessed Mother.

i begged God to spare her. to keep her safe. that help in some other form besides me and my daughter would come.

plagued by wanting my will to be done now. not in ten minutes or twenty. every minute that she lay there bleeding was precious.

this kind of fear is wild and primitive. the terrified kind of fear that nightmares are made of. the kind of fear that one does not expect to encounter in this age of technology and resources.

i had never needed God like i did then. so promptly and completely.

and never had i ever felt so abandoned by Him either.

“i sought Him and did not find Him, i called Him and He did not answer.” (Sg. 3)

not on my time anyway.

but at last He heard me.

and there were more miracles.

like how her wound had stopped bleeding by the time the firemen arrived. and how she didn’t need stitches or break anything else. how the bleeding in her brain remained stable enough not to need surgery. and how after 5 days in intensive care she was released with minor bruising. headaches and nausea. and while those things have been difficult to deal with, it could have been so much worse.

fatally worse.

Fulton Sheen says: life is mingled with death. truth with error. love with hate. but GOD is the ultimate goal in life. from Him we come and in HIM alone do we find our peace.

it became clear later, “when my soul was suddenly illumined with the light of grace, cleansed from all defilement of sin, and felt itself filled with consolation. and with spiritual strength and unspeakable joy, i could then say to HIM: your Name, O Lord, is for me oil poured out. for the grace of Your visitation makes me fully understand the true meaning of Your Name, which is JESUS. Savior.” (Fr. Hilton, 1396)

the ONE Who saves. Who has the power to save. is not a disinterested spectator in the lives of His children.

even in a season of joy, we are reminded of the cross. the delights of Christmas and epiphany do not spare us from sickness. suffering. or death. (january 2011 magnificat p. 109)

He is ever-present.

not only in our grace-filled moments. but also our most terrified moments. and even in our ordinariest and mundanest of moments. all are very dear and precious to HIM.

so here is to happy endings. new beginnings. and second chances.

that i plunged into this new year totally out of sorts is very humbling.

i had so planned on getting my act together. re-organizing things around here.

but my father’s prophetic words continue to haunt me a bit. we really don’t know how much time we have with the ones we love. and there always be someone up for a game of scrabble.  or wanting to snuggle and read a story. and then there are all those dishes and laundry that tend to pile up. especially when something terrible happens.

yes, life does go on.

everything has changed and nothing has changed.

we are a little busier. a bit more tired. going back and forth between my parents’ house and here.

a dear priest friend who said mass for us yesterday said that when the matriarch of the family has lost a considerable amount of blood it is like an oblation poured out. it is something holy. and our lives should be changed forever in the Eternal Word.

i feel like those words brought me full circle. back to where this all began. back to the Holy Name of Jesus.


the Word Who is.

and how our whole lives are like an oblation that we offer to Him.

let us see to it that we take nothing of our oblation back.

and that, friends, is where i will end this.

this pouring out…..

when autumn and summer compete









it can be quite a treat.

autumn says, bring your sewing outside. or better yet come on a walk with me and i’ll show you my colors. i’ll show you what’s new. and i will even send a breeze to cool your face.

summer laughs and says, don’t bother with those things on the ground. gaze instead into the eyes of the cosmos. she blushes pink because she heard you say how pretty she is. and she saw the little girl with you stop to wait for you to have a look.

but wait! calls autumn. did you notice the color my leaves brought to that bouquet. without them it wouldn’t quite look that way. and your favorite sweater. the one you got last Christmas. if it weren’t for me it’d still be packed in the attic. causing static in your “done with summer” brain.

empty acorns. scurrying squirrels. black-eyed susans nodding their heads. all because they know it is almost time. time for them to hide under their leaf and pine needle blankets. the remnants of summer can only last so long in those 50 degree afternoons. and before i know it, she will take her place with the rest of them. it is nap time, i tell her. and when you wake up you’ll be in a better mood. you and spring get along so much better. even though it is wetter. and then you will be the one trying to show me things. wanting the spotlight. using your sunny mornings and your longer days to drive her away….but until then… thanks for an awfully lovely day!

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