Monday, September 23, 2019

Grandsons!


Grandsons are just the best. Well, OK, I don't have any granddaughters yet. And I'm sure they will be wonderful. But for now, to say that I am enjoying my grandsons is quite the understatement.


 They keep me laughing all day long. Their expressions, the things they say, the way they interact. It's all hilarious.

And my only responsibility is to love them (and keep them safe while I babysit.) How fun is that?

How could I not love them? Right?

Their energy invigorates me. Their humor can make me laugh till I cry.

Their development is fascinating. New words and expressions every day! And new abilities-- like climbing the "rock wall" above!

I give them hugs and kisses. I applaud their achievements. I make excuses for their tiny missteps.

And nothing could be more fun.

 Look at these faces. Need I say more?




And, yes, there are only two in these pictures, but I have one more whose parents like to stay off the internet. I respect that. But I am blessed with three!

AND two more grandchildren on the way. I'm in heaven. Blessed be God.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Do Manners Make the Man?

On September 13 the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Paula Marantz Cohen (dean and English professor at Drexel University) entitled "Jane Austen Knows That Manners Make the Man, "followed by the sentence, "Her work is now popular because of its eloquent portrayal of how politeness is tied to deeper morality."

Well. What a great topic. I never thought about this quality of Jane Austen's work. I love her novels because of how wonderfully she puts words together. But this is a very interesting point.

Courtesy is required of the Christian. I have read the truth many times that courtesy is an example of Christian charity. (Too many times to cite the source.) John Saward has in interesting essay on the subject on the EWTN website called, "The Grace of God in Courtesy." (originally published in 1994 in The Catholic World Report.)

But back to Jane Austen and Professor Cohen's essay. She writes,"But what I think is central to her popularity is a longing for civility in an age of coarseness and meanness."

Indeed, the coarseness and meanness is all around us. Good manners are important. Politeness matters. I think teaching politeness to children may have fallen out of favor in child rearing. A friend of mine working in a preschool setting told me she was corrected when she prompted three-year-olds to say please and thank you after receiving a snack. She was told they did not think three was old enough for such instruction. IMHO, if they can say the words, it's not too early for the instruction.

The proverb, "Manners maketh the man" is said to be hundreds of years old. This is wisdom of the ages.

For heaven's sake, be polite. It's a matter of treating people right.

As Cohen says in her essay, "The word 'manners' sounds prissy and old-fashioned to contemporary ears. But Austen presents it as the need to treat others humanely rather than instrumentally. It is the outward expression of respect for others-- whether one knows them well, slightly, or not at all."

Polite people are treated differently than those who are rude. People like to be treated with respect. They look more kindly on those who show that courtesy. And it is indeed a matter Christian charity.

It was true in Jane Austen's time and it's still true today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The End of Summer...

We know the end of summer is nearly here in Michigan, but the lovely warm temperatures of late could fool us. We know the calendar does not lie. We know that the truly glorious Autumn in Michigan is just around the corner. But we are being blessed right now with temps that still feel like summer.


My husband and I took our dog Nala for a walk in a nearby nature area/ park. Look at this lovely pond.

And these wildflowers....so delightful.


I'm convinced that spending time out in nature refreshes the soul. Could it be because the glory of God is all over it?


These flowers are from my own garden. Delphinium above. The flowers have such a stunningly beautiful purple and blue hue. They bloomed in the Spring. And they're back for an encore. I could give a standing ovation. :-)

Below is pink stonecrop. It's a kind of sedum. (Sedum cauticola "Lidakense) I bought it for it's beautiful blue-grey foliage. (Can you tell I like blue?)


I had no idea it would also produce these lovely pink flowers in late summer and autumn.
 

 And then the alyssum. I plant alyssum every year. The little flowers are so delicate and beautiful...and they bloom all summer.

The white alyssum has the added benefit of a very lovely fragrance. I have to have white alyssum along my front walk so I can breathe that sweet fragrance every day.

What flowers are you enjoying these days?



They're not going to last long. We could have a frost very soon. That just makes every day a gift, right?

Blessed be God.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tea Party Shower-- Feeling Grateful for My Adult Kids...



I have come to very much enjoy efforts of hospitality with my daughters, all three of them. 
This particular shower was a group effort between my youngest two daughters and me. It was a bridal shower for Liz's college roommate. Liz did the invitations, flowers and centerpieces.


 Mary made ALL the food. (Delicious!) It was quite a job!

 I did the favors and prizes for the games, with advice from them. Liz planned and led all the games.


I love that they don't hold back. they don't try to make these efforts as easy as possible. They try to make them as nice and as gracious as possible.


That being said, they wanted to use fine china. Course, we didn't have any set that would be big enough so we mismatched a couple sets. (I guess that's a thing now.) Then they decided we should use my mother's old teacup collection. Cool, I thought. Then when they said they wanted to use crystal I said, "I knew it was only a matter of time before someone suggested we bring out the crystal." Their reply, "You don't want to?" And I said, "No, go for it," feeling very pleased at my daughters' gifts of hospitality. So we brought out mine, my mother's, and my grandmother's crystal. Some of it was very old. But, hey, why keep these things if you're not going to use them, right?


There were a couple children coming so the child size tea set was a must.


Liz outdid herself on the tea party themed centerpieces and flowers.


The guests seemed to very much enjoy themselves, which is, of course, the point of the whole effort.



And the bride? The bride was radiant and appreciative. I love these girls.


There's something wonderful that happens when your adult children join your team. We did not argue. We worked together. They pretty much planned the whole thing and I just did the parts I was assigned. With some advice from them. After all, they know better than I (a lot better) what young people like these days. Or at least what these young people like.

There are challenges to letting your children go, letting them have their adult autonomy. I am blessed that all my adult children are living responsible lives. And I am so grateful to see them mastering the art of hospitality and giving to others with their whole hearts.

God is good. All the time.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Saint Rose of Lima!


Saint Rose of Lima is patron saint of florists, gardeners, the Americas, Latin America, Peru, Philippines, and South America. She was born in 1586 as Isabel del Flores y del Olivia and died at the age of 31.

From https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-rose-of-lima/ we have the following reflection on Saint Rose of Lima and her penances:
It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of “freedom.” Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere?
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary!



A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Revelation 12:1)
Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun? (Song of Songs 6:10)

 On October 11, 1954, on what was then the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (later moved to January 1), Pope Pius XII established the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven. It would be celebrated on the octave day of the Assumption, August 22. In the words of Pius XII:

“Mary deserves the title because she is mother of God, closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.”

While it was a new feast on the liturgical calendar at the time, the honoring of Mary as queen has very deep roots in tradition and Scripture. In the Old Testament the mother of a king had great influence in court. As Von Balthasar wrote, (as quoted in Magnificat magazine)

“A queen enjoys full power, even with regard to the king. Mary’s fullness of power is expressed in her intercession for us and her mediation of graces, so that we receive all personal graces from God.”


Elizabeth, at the Visitation, asked, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” And as early as the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” And hymns as early as the 11th and 13th centuries included “Hail Holy Queen,” “Queen of Heaven,” and “Hail Queen of Heaven.”

“The solidly theological reasons for her title of Queen are expressed splendidly by Pius XII, in his Radiomessage to Fatima, Bendito seja (AAS 38. 266): “He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.” (Excerpted and adapted from Theology 523: Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion, by Father William G. Most.)


Truly, how could the mother of God, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, not be a queen? She is the mother of the eternal King of Kings. St. John Damascene wrote, “When she became mother of the creator, she truly became queen of every creature.”(https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/is-there-a-queen-in-the-kingdom-of-heaven) As the spouse of the Holy Spirit of God she is indeed a queen. As the Lord our God reigns, so must she in both of these capacities.

The Church proclaims Mary’s status as queen in the numerous titles with which we address her:
Queen of Angels, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of All Saints, Queen of the May, Queen of the Universe, Queen of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen Conceived Without Original Sin, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Peace…

On the Feast of your Queenship and every day, O Mary, our heavenly queen, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sisters!!!


My sister was just here visiting for  about a week.

Today I am missing her. What is it about sisters. Both my sister and my brother can make me laugh harder than about anyone else.

We went to a Pilates class together. We both avoided looking at each other. Why? Because we knew we would start laughing. Fo no reason.

Sometimes just a look between us can make us laugh because we know what the other is thinking. And we know why it's funny. Is it genes? Is it the common upbringing?

We also share many of the same values. We've each been through a lot, some of it shared and some of  it separately. And we understand. We understand each others' virtues and we understand each other's flaws. Yet we still love each other.

Is it the bond of blood, the shared experience? Whatever it is, I'm feeling grateful for my sister and our relationship.

It was a great week.


She's the best sister...