Thursday, February 28, 2013

Searching for life's fountain?

A long life is not always great.
And a grateful life may not be long.

Which would you prefer?

Be grateful.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some people don't like Facebook

I get it. Facebook is a social media site where kindness and propriety are often forgotten. But not always. Where some individuals give TMI or shed too many clothes and then post the photos to prove it...

But then check out this image I saw via beliefnet on Facebook.

Take this message to heart. And have a great day!

A Little Smile

Tell me your not smiling now...
A little or a lot

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Picture Perfect

It's a little kiss
a little hug
a little snuggle
a little prayer

That makes and means the world of difference.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Can you do this one small thing?

Please pray for the son of Clay and Stacy Sack today.   17-yr old Taylor Sack was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical due to a spinal injury. He will be going into surgery today at 12 noon to stabilize his number 5 disk that was broken in a skiing accident Friday at Wachusetts Mountain. The doctors are still not giving them much hope for Taylor to walk again--unless the Lord intervenes he will be paralyzed from the chest down. Last night 17 friends and family gathered around his bed to remove the tiles and lift him before a merciful God to ask for a miracle.
Will you join us?
Request initially posted on Facebook by my friend Karen Low.
Copied here in kindness. 

Do you always know your purpose?

It's a big world.

When I start to feel overwhelmed by demands I remember the story of the boy tossing starfish back into the sea. The beach is littered by the helpless creatures, and one by one the boy picks them up and launches them back into the water with his best baseball pitch.

An old man walks up to the little boy and belittles his attempts. "There are so many of them. You can't possibly make a difference."

The little boy pauses and looking at the starfish gripped in his little hand and says, "Well, it matters to this one."

This week is dedicated to the little guy, the little things, the little acts of courage and kindness that make a difference.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Counting Blessings

The house quiet. The girls still sleeping. I'm counting my blessings. I'm starting with you.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lesson Learned

With A Little Help - Thank God

Had a rough work week of separating the wheat from the chaff. By Friday we were back on track. I wonder why God has given me this opportunity as a caregiver? I wonder to whom I'm to deliver these blessing in the future?

We've all had rough patches in our lives. And I'm always amazed by the blessings they carry forward.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friend is a very powerful word

"My dear friend, I'll see you Friday," and with that I finished leaving voicemail and hung up the phone.

"Mom," the little one asked, "Why do you call everyone friend?"

Can you feel the love tonight?

 Friend is a very powerful word.

You can't say it without getting a felling of being closely connected.


You can't say it and then harbor frustration or anger.


You can't say it without feeling the love.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Inspiration, where does your's come from?

I've had a second book in me for years. Always meaning to sit down, sort it out and write it. Last week I got a hand written note from a young reader of my first book,  Forever Yours, asking if there was a sequel. I wrote her back saying yes, and when I finish it I would love for her to read it. There is my inspiration to get writing again. And here is the Prologue. It's rough, but it's a start.

Even before she walked into my room, I knew by the weight of her footsteps, and the tone of her Sarah, that mom was bearing bad news.
“In here,” I called, not really looking up from my Algebra. After all how bad could it be? Dad and Molly were fooling around in the library. My thoughts of x and y were being amply disturbed by their squealing. I had just gotten a text from Melody. She was fine. Twenty minutes ago I'd walked home with Jeff, and we had all seen Martha the day before. All was good. Or so I thought.
Without being completely through the doorway into my room, she asked, “Did you hear the phone?”
Still without really looking up, “Yup.”
“It was Beverly.”
Puzzled, for the fact I couldn't recall knowing a Beverly, I turned and asked, “Who?”
It would've been totally funny if she weren't so upset.  But my mom's face hit the floor as she exclaimed, "Beverly,  Mrs. Marche, Carolyn's mother on Bainbridge Island."  
How could I forget. Mom had remained in touch with her old friend, just like we lived a mere 3 house lots a part down the sandy shore road, but I hadn't really thought of Carolyn since she sent the letter canceling her plans to visit that first April break we were in Stockbridge. Still my heart fluttered. “Is Mrs. Marché okay?”
Tears welled up in my mom's eyes and split down over both cheeks. “It's cancer.”
“Cancer?” My face was about to join her's on the floor. “Where, what kind, how bad?”
“Breast cancer, but it's metastasized. Everywhere...”
As her voiced trailed off her tears flowed. Without really knowing how we got there, we were hugging in the middle of my room. Mrs. Marché, so sick, how did this happen? She ate right, exercised, never drank, and never smoked. Life was unfair.
When Mom's steady stream quieted to a weeping, she lifted her head and said, “She hasn't been feeling well, but she thought it was just a virus, her asthma acting up. She's asked me to go out there to help.”
The next day she was on a plane for Seattle. That was three weeks ago.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

God doesn't make mistakes

Talking with a friend the other day when she related to me a conversation she had with another acquaintance. The whole upshot of the conversation was: God made us who we are, from the inside out. And He doesn't make mistakes. We are who we are. We all have a purpose towards His plan.

Does knowing this lighten the load or make it feel heavier?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Living On The Edge

"I'm not a morning person."

That was the response when a parent was asked if they could help out with their child's community service project.  A simple statement of a simple fact. But what else does it say?

It could say many things but it screams of not wanting to live outside of the comfort zone. jeff noel and his guest blogger, Lorie Sheffer, are always urging their readers to remember that life begins outside our comfort zones. That stepping beyond our normal can be eye opening, frightening, anxious, exhilarating, a learning experience or lesson learned.

Just one little step, and a new dawn. Exciting.

It would be nice if the garden were outside this guy's comfort zone.
BIG known fact about me: I will drive to Florida without blinking an eye. Pack the car and we are off. But ask me to drive into Boston... that is asking me to live outside my zone.  Thankfully that request came yesterday and I drove the girls into Boston to see Disney on Ice. A great time was had by all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A satisfied customer

Meet Fred. Fred is my oldest daughter's boyfriend's cat living in Wisconsin. Fred is also the happy recipient of fall out, or collateral grace.

The goodwill ripple effect from making toys for homeless cats and kittens is that felines who we know and love also got a new toy.

Some toys were hand delivered home, or to a neighbor or relative. Others, like Fred, got shipped via the mail. In an envelope addressed to FRED. I wonder if he also got to open it.

Spread collateral grace.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today's Tasks

After Mass there is grocery shopping, cooking, and carpooling. Everyday mundane often overwhelming tasks. But also opportunities for prayer.

Honor God with every task.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Swords into Plowshares

The 30 hour famine started yesterday. Five young women dedicating their next thirty hours, with no solid food, into helping the hungry, the homeless, even The Farm.

Yesterday they spent three hours making plarn that will be crocheted into sleeping mats for the homeless; before heading over to the food pantry to lend a helping hand.

Today they will help out at The Farm cleaning buckets, get cleaned up themselves before going to the St, Vincent dePaul Store to straighten out merchandise.

Living witnesses to the phrase: I am second

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Funny Thing

Visiting with Great Nana in 2008. She herself was a little confused.

 The other day I was electronically discussing the speed of the internet with a friend when they said, and I'll paraphrase, "It was wicked slow." Yup so slow it was frustrating to the nth degree and they had to remember all the good things in their life in order to let go of their frustrations.

Being the lucky caregiver for two senior citizens who both experience the confusion of short term memory lose my mornings are filled with repeated light questions regarding age, religion, anything Italian, the weather, Dean Martin and Benny Goodman. Easy peasey. No worries. Today was different. Today we had a clogged kitchen sink versus the lovely client who wants to help and will wash dishes till the cows come home. Literally.

"Sorry my friend, the sink is clogged. We can't wash dishes until maintenance fixes it. Why don't you sit down and relax. Listen to the music."


This scenario repeated three more times. And each time I had to dash from the bedroom, where I was helping my other client, to the kitchen to deliver my gentle message. On the third time, as I turned to make the mad run to halt the kitchen flood, I uttered, "He's going to be the death of me." And then I stopped dead in my tracks.  Remembering my previous electronic conversation regarding slow internet connections. And really remembering to focus in on all the good I share with my clients in order to bypass this frustration.

The shift continued with my client folding the laundry, while I quietly washed the dishes then bailed out the sink into a bucket. Better yet, the shift ended with us all singing along with Dean Martin, big smiles and laughter.

I'm always amazed when life's lessons carry over into... life.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Think your job is rough?

Welcome to the pit. The room? where wheelbarrows filled with manure and urine soaked sawdust are dumped from the vantage point (doorway) of where this photo was taken..

When I started volunteering at the farm I asked, "What happens if you lose control of a wheelbarrow and it falls into the pit?"

The answer: Someone with high boots on has to go get it... See the footprints? Yeah... Something required retrieval. Not pleasant.

Fact: Cleaned the platforms yesterday. Must have dumped 10 wheelbarrows full... Hmmm just realized those footprints only go in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's your best foot?

Today is one of those days for putting my best foot forward. Even though the rest of me would rather stay in bed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Is...

Valentine's Day is fast approaching.

Skip the flowers and chocolates. Love is spreading the ice melt.

It's the quiet I seek

Read this quote recently

Meditate 15 minutes a day
And if you are really busy
Meditate for an hour.

Get it?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Breaking News: Pope Benedict XVI resigning


At WYD08 in Sydney

WYD2011 in Madrid
 Thank you for your leadership! God's Blessings!

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Coming for to carry me home.

Perspective. The swing height didn't change. What's different is the ground. Get it?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Good Night Nemo

It's been an interesting day. Going from the calm before the storm and no snow on the ground this morning to the wind howling like a freight train whipping up white out conditions and a foot of snow lapping at the doors as I type this entry before bed.

We are hunkered down.

Keeping in contact with neighbors, family and friends near and far via phone, text and Facebook.

Waiting and watching.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

What does experimentation look like?

Saw a picture of a woman cave. It was a kitchen. Cute, and true, at least here.

The Girl Scouts are celebrating Girl Scout Thinking Day by researching Mexican Scouting. To prepare for our meeting I experimented in first making corn tortillas. It was a fowl bust. Not good at all... But then I tried flour tortillas; which are an out of the park home run hit!

The initial failure didn't stop me. Instead it urged me to investigate an alternative.

Words to live by. Brought to you from a woman in her cave.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

No Words

Driving down the farm driveway I prayed, God let there be loving, instead of shoveling (manure) in my future. I'm spent.

The barn quiet, mostly all the calves were out enjoying the winter sun. Patty was in. And as I told her just how lovely she is, a voice called out, "I'm in with Peaches. She's down."

When a calf or for that matter a full grown 22 year old matriarch of a farm cannot get up it is not good. I walked over to her stall. Another volunteer was sitting in the hay beside the beloved grain thief. Sitting watch. I went down at Peaches' face. Hugging her great head to my chest. She let me hold her tight as I whispered lovies in her ear.

After intra-volunteer introductions and light conversation, the watch baton was handed over. And there I stayed, for the next two hours, lying so close that when the matriarch exhaled her warm breath fogged my glasses. Talking to her, rubbing her, looking deep into her eyes. Letting her know in no uncertain terms that she is loved.

Yes there was loving on the farm docket today.  As there is always, even when there is shoveling involved.

Community Service

The beauty of community service is seeing how many walks of life can be gathered up in a simple act of kindness. Confirmation I class makes cat toys for homeless kittens. Who gets helped? The cats obviously, but also the youth in the act of giving and in the learning/practice of sewing.

Also the Girl Scouts who pitched in making toys; learning how to sew and in knowing they are part of an even bigger effort..

Add my client. In her youth an expert seamstress. We spent a quiet morning remembering how to sew, and discussing homeless cats.

The spread of Goodness flows unchecked.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Am I reaching them?

Taught both the Sunday and Monday night religious ed. classes this week. Working on showing them God's work in their completing small acts of kindness. They wrote letters to soldiers fighting overseas and sewed cat toys for kitties in a shelter. Basic skills: writing and sewing used to help man and beast. For some students a real stretch, but they try.

Still they ask why do I have to come here? My answer to gather the information required to make an informed decision about Confirmation. This sacrament is their choice.

Their answers: One student comes because their grandfather will buy them a car after receiving the sacrament. Others complain their parents are forcing them. Or that they will never be allowed in their grandparent's house again if they are not confirmed. Some, not all, seem bored no matter what we do. Most try at one point or another.

It truly is in God's hands. Something has to ignite that spark. Fan the flames.

Monday, February 04, 2013

It's Ground Hog Day!

Not. It's not a day for do overs. It's a day to keep moving forward. Enjoy! We only see today once.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Crocheting Plarn into Sleeping Mats

Plarn is plastic yarn. Made by slicing refuse plastic bags into loops and then knotting the loops together.

Grace Church, the local Universalist Unitarian parish has a phenomenal outreach program. And our great friend and neighbor is quite active in their ranks.

And as we, as a family. are just about finished with our 6 foot contribution we can't help but wonder and pray for the individual that will receive our prayers all wrapped up in Plarn. It's a sleeping mat, not a blanket, but it is warm. May it keep the cold and damp at bay.

We have learned which bags makes the strongest Plarn. We pray each stitch, regardless of its origin remains strong and intact until our prayer partner is no longer homeless and sleeping on the street. Amen.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

What's your perspective?

In this picture my dear Peaches looks to have a big head and teeny tiny feet. When in actual fact, being taller than I, there is nothing remotely tiny about this lovely dairy cow. Don't be fooled. Those feet are generous salad plate in size.

In Ground Hog Day, the movie, Bill Murray has a life time of do overs to get his perspective on life correct. (Yes, we will watch that movie today, only once.)

jeff noel over at promotes: Life is not a dress rehearsal. Without the benefit of the movies we are not blessed with endless do overs. Let's be vigilant. Let's work on keeping life in perspective. With our eyes on the prize.

Friday, February 01, 2013

If You Bake A Friend A Cookie

Will they ask for a glass of milk?  Probably not...

A friend asked for prayers. So deeply touched, we had to bake cookies.

The bake-goods delivered, she is still in our thoughts and prayers. How could she not?

Soft and Sensitive

We have a running joke in this house. When horse play gets out of hand and mom (that's me) fears that either I'll get trampled or my glasses broken, I slur in a very slurry voice, "Careful, I'm soft and sensitive."  The first time I said that, what seems like a million years ago, the girls stopped jumping on me only to fall over in a gale of laughter.... You might to have had to be there to get the full impact. But it worked.

Now a million years later, I still say the soft and sensitive words when rough housing grows to a mommy extreme. But for mommy these words have taken on a different meaning. Before, when I would say them, it was a joke. Although sensitive, Mommy wasn't soft. I was a slim trim walking biking machine. I could handle my own in the horsing around arena, sans glasses. It's the glasses and the inability to see without them that truly frightens me, but I sort of digress.

Right after turning 50, I started, through no wish of my own, to take on that grandma softness. You know when you hug a grandmother and they are all warm, soft and cozy. Like a blanket without the fringe.  With a soft and cozy lap; great for grandchildren to crawl up into. (Yes, I miss my nana.)

Granted I'm old enough to have grandchildren. But I was a late starter; very late. My girls aren't ready to be mamas. But that hasn't seemed to affect my hormonal clock.

Friends offer support by acknowledging, "It happens." Doctors offer encouragement, " Exercise and eat a good diet." I try, but still I'm becoming grandmotherly.Yesterday while wrestling off my sweaty tshirt from a stint on the treadmill, my arm brushed against my soft and sensitive belly. Immediately I had a vision of nana. A warmth filled my core, and for a nanosecond I was sitting on her lap.

Maybe being soft and sensitive is okay; something I will have to grow into.