Monday, May 14, 2018

A Happy Mother's Day

For mothers, Mothers Day is the day we celebrate our most important job on Earth, regardless of what other jobs we may have. I remember when my oldest son was born. I thought immediately that the event was so momentous that it made everything else in my life seem trivial, everything I had done before and everything I would ever do.

When you become a mother your heart expands exponentially. There is someone you would die for without hesitation. There is someone whose needs, at least for a great number of years, will always be more important than your own.

I had a lovely Mother's Day. My youngest daughter came home for the celebration!And helped make brunch with my husband. It was delicious. Eggs, gluten free pancakes, sausage- both link and patty, bacon, fruit....

My youngest son and his darling wife came over despite needing 
to be at a family Baptism, on Elle's side, in the afternoon where they were to be 
the godparents of newborn nephew Joseph!

My always busy son John was able to join us!! And even played the piano!!

The adoring aunts and godmothers of these two grandsons....Every woman there was a mother or godmother!

My youngest grandson Jude is the sweetest little guy. Always happy!

For a mom, the sweetest times are always spent with children and grandchildren. There just isn't anything better, is there? Even when the "children" are all adults the joy of just being in their presence is very difficult to describe. And the grandchildren....well, that is the subject of another post.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bishop Robert Barron on Aspects of the Ascension

On this the traditional Feast of the Ascension Bishop Barron's thoughts on heaven and earth are especially appropriate.

The Ascension raises questions in our minds, does it not? Where is heaven? Is it up? We know it is not a physical place in the way we would normally think of a physical place. And yet we also know that Jesus in present in heaven, in His body. So how do we reconcile those two realities? Bishop Barron explains the mystery very well, with words that we know can only point to those realities that are beyond our understanding.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Cold Climates and the Development of Virtue...

When you live in Michigan it's very difficult to know exactly when Spring has started. We are always on our guard to not get too excited lest our enthusiasm be dashed by yet another frost...or even snow. This particular Spring has been long in coming.

Some say that living in Michigan, or any cold climate, builds character. I can see that could be true. Of course, to actually build that character, one has to take advantage of the opportunities.

In the dead of winter we must embrace endurance and sometimes even long-suffering. Feeling cold for months on end can be trying, to say the least. To drive on treacherous streets is sometimes terrifying, particularly when surrounded by Michigan drivers convinced that their driving is so skilled that there really is no need to slow down on icy roads. We must accept and embrace the fear. Instead of letting anger toward other drivers take a hold, we must take a step back and pray for their and our own safety.

When Spring starts to tease us (and believe me, it is always a tease in this state) we must learn patience. The first rather warmish day does not mean there can't be any more cold ones without our throwing a fit. Even the tenth warm day does not mean winter cannot put forth one more last gasp. We have to love the little snowdrops and crocuses, delighting in their beauty and fragile hardiness in the midst of the inevitable late frost. We have to resist complaining. Unless, of course, it's the light-hearted complaining to a neighbor or cashier, the grumbling that's accompanied by a smile or a chuckle that includes a certain affection for the state known for its fickle weather.

When finally, hopefully, Spring has truly arrived (fingers crossed) we must embrace gratitude for the loveliness of it all. We must notice every new bud, each new flower, the refreshingly warm breeze, the sunshine....all of it. Having lived in the black and white of yet another very long winter, let's rejoice in the colors, the new life, the amazing beauty of God's creation coming back to life.

Spring in Michigan means the glory of God is all over everything. And we have another new opportunity to praise Him, the Author of all life.

God is good. All the time. (In every season.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Day Out With Thomas

Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan holds a fun event in the Spring called Day Out With Thomas. Anyone with little boys in their life knows how beloved the little tank engine Thomas is. My grandson is no exception.

The event includes a ride on Thomas. Here we are waiting to depart.

Sir Topham Hat is there and you can have your photos taken with him. There is an activity center with multiple tables where tracks can be arranged and Thomas and his friends pulled around. Children were very drawn to these activities. What is it about trains that so fascinates the young?

As I once watched a Thomas video with my grandson I wondered what is it about this series that so appeals to the children. I think there are a couple reasons. First, (but not most importantly) Thomas is adorable. That cute little face with the innocent smile. There is also a positive message in each episode. I think they tend to have one of two themes. Do your job and don't be a jerk. Children understand that. They are just learning to do what is expected and to behave.

Naturally we stopped at the gift shop...

Well, yeah!

There was also an opportunity to have your picture taken with Thomas. We missed that chance because of the line but had another on the way out.

But...great excitement. Off in the distance we spotted Thomas coming around again.

Blaise blew Thomas kisses as he waved good-bye.

It was adorable. What can I say.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Will Anything Survive the Tearing Up of the Yard? Yes!

In addition to the excavation of the new room, more excavating was done to bury the electrical cable, pretty much right along the line of some old daffodils. I moved a few things in the garden before construction began, but not all that much. Mainly sentimental items and a few plants I really love.

Blaise, construction supervisor
After the digging was over and the trench refilled this was about all that was left-- one little piece of a mangled bulb. I thought, Oh well, I'll plant some more.

When, lo and behold, a few weeks later these started appearing-- daffodil stems!! All the ends were cut off, but they kept growing. I don't know where they were in the previous picture, but somehow they found their way back to light.

Now a few are even starting to bloom. Amazing. Mind you, these are old bulb that have seen many a Michigan winter. Very hardy stock. First we saw this....

And then..... their little smiling faces!!

And more good news. Among the sentimental plants I "transplanted" were peonies I had brought from my parents garden at my family home. I have transplanted in quotes because I had very little time and I really just yanked them out of the ground with a shovel, breaking many roots and then threw them back in the ground in a relatively safe place, buried them again and wished them luck.

But here they are coming back up. Living things always push forcefully toward life.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the peonies. Thank you for life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Finally We Have Space!!!

This is what holidays used to look like at our house. People everywhere. All people who loved each other, don't get me wrong. But there were always a lot of people in a pretty confined space.

 We used every chair in the house and some people would still sit on the floor.

 We would turn our Amish table sideways in order to extend it as far as possible. We still had two leaves we could never use because we never had space enough to extend it all the way.
And, no, you could not open the refrigerator with the table like this unless the person sitting in front of it got up. (which they were always quite willing to do.)

It was tight!! Now that the new room is finished we have two different locations where the table can be extended all the way.

We can put it in the new room.

 Or we can extend it from the dining area into the living room/ (Because we removed a half wall here and moved the piano to the new room.)

And, yes, those are just random chairs in the new room. Still trying to make decisions about furniture.

Finally, we can spread out. God is good. All the time. Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Barbara Bush--The Excellent Homemaker

On this the day of Barbara Bush's funeral I am reminded of the year 1990 when as First Lady she was invited to be the commencement speaker at Wellesley College. There was much controversy over this invitation. Some 150 students at Wellesley protested her speech claiming it did not uphold the school's feminist beliefs.

Their petition said, "To honor Barbara Bush as a commencement speaker is to honor a woman who has gained recognition through the achievements of her husband, which contravenes what we have been taught over the last four years at Wellesley."

Oh, please. So recognition through achievement was the standard for honor? I wrote a letter to the editor at the time of this protest. I argued that Barbara Bush could probably be credited as much with having achieved the position of First Lady as her husband could be with having been elected president. How would George H.W. Bush have fared raising six children on his own? Barbara maintained the family. Is there any more important job?

Barbara Bush advised the class of 1990 to do three things: Believe in something larger than yourself....get involved in the big ideas of your time. Find the joy in life. Cherish your human connections.  " are a human being first and those human connections--- with spouses, with children, with friends-- are the most important investments you will ever make.

Read the entire speech HERE.

Psychologist Phyllis Chesler said at the time (according to the New York Times), that the number of students who voted for Mrs. Bush suggests that "many women still want to live in the castle, still believe in the myth of rescue by marriage and still believe in Prince Charming."

Such a characterization of those who value children and family life is as profoundly offensive today as it was then.

As Barbara Bush once said, "At the end of your life, you will never regret hot having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent." (

Indeed. What really matters is not what your paycheck is, not what your title is and not how much status your work accords. As Barbara Bush said in her speech, "Our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens in your house."

What matters in life is how much you have loved. Barbara Bush's life it would seem was a life well lived.