Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mosaic Masterpiece

I am blessed to be part of a parish with some astonishingly talented artists who give generously of their time. Claudia Burns was the mastermind artist behind this incredible mosaic for behind the tabernacle at our parish, Christ the King in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The project represents 1800 hours of construction, completed by 54 volunteers, over 15 months.

My daughters and I contributed just a couple hours. We loved it, but life got too busy.

The mosaic consists of thousands of tiny shards of glass, all brilliantly chosen and color coordinated by our master artist Claudia.

Look at the detail. It's exquisite.

Here is the installation behind the tabernacle. It's perfect.

It's gorgeous from a distance and even more beautiful up close.

Is it not a fittingly magnificent mosaic for behind our beautiful tabernacle. Brought me to tears!

Thank you, Claudia, for designing and executing this extraordinary work. How you give glory to God with your talent and willingness to use it for HIM!

You can find more photos of the construction of this beautiful work HERE

Friday, December 07, 2018

Another Celebration

The end of Thanksgiving dinner marked the beginning of another family celebration: a slightly early birthday celebration for my second oldest grandson.

My daughter-in-law had the ingenious idea to make a cake like a baseball, to match the sport themed balloons we had bought. She thought she would use a pie pan as the mold. I have to confess I had my doubts. She used a glass pie pan which I think she greased and floured. It came out of the pan nicely!

She then put berry jam in a baggy and piped the lines of a baseball on it. After that, she used little slices of fruit snacks to form the stitching on the ball. It was quite impressive. I have a very resourceful daughter-in-law.

Happy Second birthday, Little Guy! I don't use his name because his parents avoid an online presence and I want to respect that.

Such a cutie, and looking so much like his father as a baby I am always taken aback...

It was a great opportunity, when the whole family was present, to celebrate another milestone event! It's rare these days to have everyone together, and what a precious time it is.

God bless you, Little One, on your birthday and throughout your entire life!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Honoring President George Herbert Walker Bush.

President Bush, 41, was a gentlemanly president. He had class. I remember his always speaking respectfully of his political opponents, never assigning motives to their views, never name-calling, never belittling others.

He was a good man. He clearly adored his wife of over 7 decades. He was devoted to his family.

He was a true patriot, having served his country valiantly as a naval pilot in World War II, the youngest pilot in the navy at that time. Bush flew 58 combat missions and was shot down. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism under fire.

President Bush had an illustrious career. He was a member of Congress, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA and vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Before politics he worked in the oil industry and became a millionaire by the time he was 40.

President Bush and his wife Barbara had six children. The oldest would also become president, George W. Bush. The Bushes lost their second child, Robin, to leukemia when she was only three years old. That President George H.W. Bush, living with the pain of having lost a child, still went on to accomplish so much with grace, dignity, patience and charm is all the more impressive.

May the good president rest in peace. The country is better off for having had his example of restraint, humility and dignity.

To learn more about the life of President George Herbert Walker Bush, try this link.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Mary's Masterpiece Dinner

My daughter Mary has started to enjoy cooking. And she's getting quite good at it. Last year as we were awaiting the imminent birth of Baby Jude, Mary offered to make the entire Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great blessing to me since I needed to be on call to help my daughter by babysitting her two year old when she went into labor which could have happened at any minute.

 This year Mary offered to do it again. I accepted gladly again but with the limitation that I wanted to be involved in the planning and reserved veto power over the menu. I also told her I would be helping with the entire meal. It was a good plan.

Mary started with making a brine for the turkey. I had never done a brine before and she is absolutely right that it very much improves the flavor and tenderness of the turkey. (Brine pictured above. Below-- Mary photographing her awesome work.)

We were quite organized because, for me, it is not going to happen if I don't have it planned out.. We always have a shopping list like the one below...

But Mary took it to a whole new level with color coded spread sheets..

The menu...after much negotiation and consultation with the family about their favorite traditional foods...

 Menu and timing sheets are taped to the cupboards...because that's much easier to just look up then to search for the the sheets of paper amid the messy table...

Mary at work and seemingly loving every minute...She's good!!

And here she is with her completed masterpiece of a dinner. It was delicious, and with no catastrophes! So proud of her, not only because she is a good cook but, more importantly, because she is willing to give many hours to serving her family.

And for the first time, we were able to expand our Amish table into the living room, instead of into the kitchen where the table would take up so much room that it was impossible to open the fridge without asking the person sitting there to get up for a minute.

 When we added the new room to our house we also expanded the opening between the dining area and the living room.
 Much, much better.

Mary and I with the mission accomplished...

#Feelingblessed, #Feelingthankful

God is good. All the time...

Monday, November 19, 2018

What a joy it is to have another generation of people in our family. It's not just that my three grandsons are adorable, exceptional, brilliant and funny. (Of course they are, right?)

It's that they enrich our lives so much. At each birthday party Blaise is very helpful in blowing out the candles on the happy-cake, as he calls it. Their perspective, their joy, their humor are sources of great delight for all of us.

Here is Blaise, almost three, learning from Grandpa how to make french toast. Everything is new to the very young, their minds soaking up information like magnificent sponges. They're interested in everything!

The love we have for our children is somehow distinct from the love we have for our grandchildren.. The delight is differently magnified, the devotion intensified, the forbearance increased many fold. The love becomes even more unconditional because, let's face it, raising them is not our responsibility, not our problem.

My job is to love them with all my heart, leaving the hard stuff to their parents.

Only love, no responsibility. It doesn't get much better.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Memorial of Saint Gertrude the Great

Today is the feast of Saint Gertrude of Helfta. Also known as Saint Gertrude the Great, she was a 13th century German Benedictine.

In this month of All Souls it is particularly appropriate that we remember Saint Gertrude. She was a mystic and experienced many visions. In one such vision she saw souls freed from purgatory ascending to heaven like sparks of light.

In another, Jesus told her, "I accept with highest pleasure what is offered to me for the poor souls, for I long inexpressibly to have near me those for whom I paid so great a price. By the prayers of thy loving soul, I am induced to free a prisoner from purgatory as often as thou dost move thy tongue to utter a word of prayer." From: Mission to Empty Purgatory

Saint Gertrude was also given the prayer recited below that Our Lord said would release 1,000 souls every time it is said with love and devotion.

From Our Catholic Prayers:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us and for all our departed family members and loved ones!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Halloween Fun

 Ok, I know many people object to the "celebration" of Halloween and I respect that. For me, the day has always been about family fun, embracing our neighborhood community, indulging children with something they love (CANDY!) and having fun.

I  had the privilege of attending the Halloween festivities at the Ann Arbor Public Library with my daughter and two of my grandsons. Blaise (above) was a train engineer...

And Jude was a cowboy! Are they not adorable? Sorry, can't help myself. It's a grandma thing.

I'm sure I had this silly grin on my face the whole time. Grandchildren are just such a joy!

My daughter-in-law is a youth librarian at Ann Arbor District Library and is she ever good at what she does. The youth librarians put on several skits based on children's books--- SO well done. Then the kids could wander around collecting candy from the library employees. Wonderful family event. The AADL Does a great job on community events like this.

I realized the morning of Halloween that we hadn't even purchased a pumpkin. So I bought one of the few remaining pumpkins at Busch's, which happened to be a pretty large one, and prayed I wouldn't hurt my newly fixed back getting it into and out of the car. (Shoutout to my chiropractic son-in-law Zach Simkins and Foundation Chiropractic) Got it into the house successfully, googled pumpkin stencils and managed to carve this with an hour or two to spare before trick-or-treating. Go blue! Felt pretty proud of myself-- and I DID NOT re-injure my back, thanks be to God!

Happy All Saint Day! All you holy men and women, pray for us!