Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Below is the table set with my mother's fine china and a mixture of her crystal and mine. My mother left this world more than 11 years ago but it still pleases me to see some of her things on the table, a reminder of everlasting life and of her love that endures. (Photo compliments of my daughter Mary.)

We started the celebration early since my oldest daughter, a nurse, had to work the afternoon shift. While watching the parades on TV, we had the following hoers oeuvres. Mary made the lovely cheese trays with grapes. The stuffed mushrooms were my mother's recipe and we have them at every important holiday.

There were ten of us together. Mary, again, kindly took the picture. Feeling very thankful that so many of us are living nearby. No one on the other side of the country anymore, no one across an ocean...

My oldest son, who lives in Indiana, is awaiting the birth of his first child and so was not able to travel home for the holiday.

So Mike and I traveled to visit them on Friday, bringing along our leftovers. We watched the Michigan/Ohio State game at a local restaurant where this father-son photo was taken. Feelings were strong in our family about this game. I am a Michigan graduate, as was my father and grandfather, as is one of my sons. One of my daughters is a current student. (I will leave commenting on the fairness of the reffing for another time. Ahem.)

Prayers appreciated for my son, my dear daughter-in-law, and soon to be born second grandson who will be born in December.

I hope you all had a thanksgiving celebration as blessed as ours. God is good.

Monday, October 10, 2016

You Are Not Truly Pro-life If You Think Abortion Should Be Legal

This image is from the Priests for Life website.

The personally-opposed-but-pro-choice position is logically inconsistent or an example of barbarism. It must be one or the other.

Here's why: If a person believes that human life begins at conception, then the unborn are individual human beings deserving of rights and protection equal to that of a human being already born. If one recognizes that reality, then one cannot also say that it should be legal for people to kill those human beings. The unborn are not entitled to rights and also not entitled to rights.

The question is not a matter of making an individual choice that belongs to another. No. Some choices are allowed by law. Other choices are not. When a law forbids a particular action, that is not a matter of making a person less free. All of law limits behavior based on our collective agreement of what is right and wrong. To say that the unborn are human beings is to say that their lives must be protected just as all human lives are protected by law.

If one believes that the unborn are human beings, as is the case with declaring oneself pro-life, and to also believe that a mother ought to be able to legally choose to end that life, is to embrace barbarism. If one is pro-life, an unborn baby is no less human than a newborn or a person of any age. To say that it ought to be legal to kill another person, of any age, is barbaric. To take that position is no different than proposing the legality of killing newborns. Remember we are talking about people who describe themselves as pro-life, believing that human life begins at conception. You cannot believe that the unborn baby is a human person and also believe that it should be legal to kill that person without embracing a certain barbarism.

That being said, let's remember that the waters of this discussion have become very muddied. Those who support abortion so-called rights have wrapped the issue in questions of freedom, personal autonomy, and medical privacy. These are all smokescreens that have caused a great many people to become confused about the sanctity of human life and our responsibilities as moral beings. I believe many people have not really given the issue much thought. It's a very important issue. I pray for the day that the clouds will be lifted and people will actually think this through and see the issue clearly. The biology is obvious. The unborn are human individuals and their lives must be protected.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Feast of Saint Matthew!

Today is the Feast of Saint Matthew, an apostle of Jesus and the author of the first Gospel.

Matthew was a tax collector, an occupation despised by many because it allowed for great profit at the expense of others through extortion.

As quoted in today's Magnificat, Saint John Chrysostom says of tax collectors:
The pursuit...was one full of all insolence and boldness, and a mode of gain whereof no fair account could be given, a shameless traffic, a robbery under cloak of law: yet nevertheless he who uttered the call was ashamed of none of these things.
No, Jesus was not ashamed of Matthew. In fact, he called him to be one of his Twelve.

According to Francis Fernandez in his wonderful series In Conversation With God, Volume 7,  despite the scorn given the position of tax collector:
It is an attractive post, however, due to its great potential for acquiring wealth. A tax collector seems to have enjoyed high social status, since Matthew made Jesus a great feast in his house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. (Luke 5:29)
So Matthew threw a party for Jesus and many other people, prompting the Pharisees to accuse Jesus of keeping company with sinners. Jesus, of course, responds that it is the sick who need a doctor and not the well.

I don't think Jesus went into that party, sat down and started telling all the guests why and how they were sinners. No, I think he sat down and loved them. I imagine he looked into their eyes and asked about their lives, their families. Had he been giving them a lecture about their failings, perhaps he would have gained the Pharisees' approval. He had only that day called Matthew to be an Apostle.  And Scripture does not recount Jesus telling Matthew all the sins he would have to abandon in order to follow him. Matthew didn't need that. I imagine he looked into the eyes of Jesus and already knew.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wedding Photos-- The Ceremony and After!

 Is this not adorable? Zach and Blaise wore matching socks. And great socks they were!!!

 OK. These aren't in order. Jim and Elle chatting with our longtime pastor Father Ed, after the sacrament and before the pictures! We love Father Ed.

 Jim and his groomsmen! Three from grade school and high school. Two from college (University of Dallas! A great school!)

 The wedding party!! Two of my daughters are among the bridesmaids...

 My Boys!!! Three sons and one son-in-law!!

 My children (and grandson!) Three sons, three daughters, two daughter-in-laws, one son-in-law, and one grandson!! God is good!

 OK. Back to the Mass... Here is Jim waiting for his bride....(with Father Phil, his spiritual director, a wonderful priest!)

 The vows....

 Our whole family!!  God is good!  All the time!

 Our extended family, including my sister and her two sons, Matt and Luke, my brother with his daughter Monique and son Mitch, and Mike's brother Jeff, with his son Anthony.

It was a wonderful day, where the grace and glory of God was all over everything.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wedding Graces-- The Rehearsal Dinner!

Yikes! Just realized I haven't posted in about a month! Family events are the reason. In short, there's been a wedding in our family!!!

Such a time of grace and joy!

On the day before the wedding, the morning began with Liz organizing the creation of the bouquets, boutonnieres, etc.

Liz and Esther, the architects!

My friend Chris, who has had a lot of experience with these endeavors, volunteered to come help.
Wow. What a gift!
There were a few other helpers but these three are the ones who really pulled it off.

Then....rehearsal dinner at Paesano Restaurant. (Warning: large number of pictures :-)

My son Jim and his lovely bride Elle!

That lilac dress. Exquisitely beautiful and her favorite flower!!

Jim's shoelaces matched the color of his pants. Nice. Loved it.

Daughter Anne with her husband Zach and their son Blaise, the love of my life!

The outside patio provided lots of entertainment!


And... Blaise, again! Of course!

Daughter Anne and daughter-in-law Esther!

Jim with Father Phil his spiritual director who would be the celebrant at the wedding!

Son Mike with his wife Esther!
Jim and Father Phil!
Daughter Mary with her godson BLAISE! (Can't have too many pictures of Blaise.)

Yours truly with my husband Mike...
Daughter Liz with her longtime boyfriend Jonathan..

 My son John who would direct the music at the wedding the next day...

Elle's parents, two delightful and thoughtful people. Hope to get to know them better!

Father Phil with his dessert!

Jim with his best man!

The soon to be bride and groom with Zach and Anne and, of course, Blaise...

I think the beauty of weddings starts at the Rehearsal Dinner. For me, that is when the celebration begins.  We all come together. Everyone is smiling. Eyes are relaxed. Smiles are warm and genuine.

I've been told that there is a great grace on weddings. Of course. There must be. And that grace seems to descend starting at the Rehearsal Dinner.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fun With Baby Blaise!

He has a nice touch. :-)
Having trouble getting these videos to work....still working on it.

My son John is loving trying to teach my grandson Blaise many improvising on the piano, throwing rolled up napkins across the dinner table, and, as pictured above, kicking a ball.

Could anything be more fun than babysitting for grandkids? Maybe not. It's especially fun when there are so many other adoring adults involved. And we all agree. Cutest baby in the world. No arguments. It's great.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sometimes You Just Have to Transplant

Some years ago I planted a dwarf hibiscus (Actually Hibiscus X Ruby Dot, I believe), also called Rosemallow, along my front sidewalk. Dwarf should mean small, right? I thought it might grow to be a foot or two. Well. It became a good three feet tall and probably had a diameter of about the same. It sprawled over the walkway, blocking a good portion of it.

But it was beautiful, as  you can see from the above photo. It would cover itself with these blooms and they were magnificent, each one so delicate and only lasting a day or two. It was a great living metaphor for the loveliness and brevity of life.

But it blocked the walk. It took over too much space and dwarfed all the other little flowers I planted along the bed. In short, it didn't fit. It had been planted (by me) in the wrong location.

So I asked my friend Sally (horticulture major) if it was possible to transplant such a big plant.  She said, "Sure. Just dig it up and move it."

I thought I might kill it, but it seemed worth a try. I moved it to the back yard in a sunny location. At first, it looked hopeless. Just a few dead looking sticks protruding from the ground. (Mind you, that's how it always looks in the early Spring. But this seemed to be the case for quite a while.)

Then, lo and behold, there were little leaves starting to emerge. It had survived!!

A few weeks later it looked like this...

I think it may like this location even better. There is a lot of sun and lots of room to spread out, without getting in anyone's way.

And finally, in all its glory.... BLOOMIMG!!!!!!

Sometimes you just have to transplant. Perhaps a metaphor for life here?

How and why might the Lord transplant us?

Sometimes he transplants us because the situation (job, friendships, etc.) we're in is not healthy. Like a plant, there may not be enough sun (too much negativity). The soil might not be right. (The situation does not bring out the best in us, does not use our gifts, or leads us to sin.) Sometimes, we might not know the reason, but follow the Lord's call anyway.

God always wants what's best for us, but our ability to see (really see!) what he has in mind is terribly limited. It's like looking through a tiny hole in a solid fence when there's an entire world on the other side. We look though a glass darkly! (1Corinthians 13:12)

When we are pulled up by the roots, it's painful and scary. Placement in a new location or situation is disorienting. Like the plant, sometimes roots are bruised or broken. We need a lot of water (grace) right away or we can wither. We need to be tended to (taking care of ourselves), and treated gently.

The Lord is always faithful and always good. We must trust him that our roots will grow. We will be fed and watered and....we will bloom again. God is good. All the time.