Slipping; Big time!

October 26th, 2020

I spoke last evening with a friend from Miami who can’t come visit as she has a full time job and is trying both to protect us and to protect herself. Isn’t that awful? We used to sip wine and laugh …. We used to have great meals in lovely Coral Gables restaurants and walk long distances together. Now we are separated and only have the phone or text. She said she feels anxious and unsettled. This calls for sliding closer on the sofa and drinking champagne as we share our feelings, but again, miles and Covid separate us. I told her there is no good result in feeling anxious, unsettled, angry, frightened… now (especially now), or any time. We both know “God is in charge”, but even I, who know so well that God is in charge, I slip; big time.

Take today…. I walked without my normal friends today so i prayed the Rosary. I use my fingers, I say all the prayers, I try to get the mysteries of the day in order. I usually end up and realize I forgot the Baptism of Jesus… Same today! I prayed. I looked up at the beautiful sky. I thanked God for the gorgeous breeze and the lake view from the park. Then I even sang a few Marian hymns. As soon as I was finished and I turned the corner onto Cumquat I started thinking awful things about our political nemises. Did you ever imagine what you would do to someone including grilling them, calling down wrath, or infecting them? Well if you haven’t, then you are a much better person than I am! “Stop that!” my guardian angel said! I replied! “Yikes! I know! I know. I did all I can. I pray and I voted. That’s it. No bad thoughts. No bad words. ”

In the Gospel this morning (Luke 13:10…) Jesus called out to a humped over lady; he laid his hands on her, and he straightened her up. He healed her. The church leaders criticized him for breaking the law. Jesus! They criticized Jesus! Jesus just turned to them from the Cross and asked his Father to forgive them. They are the worst of the worst for not taking care of their people and for criticizing the good man Jesus, and Jesus says not a word but he prays for them. St Paul says in Ephesians 4, “Be kind, forgive, have compassion.” Do I believe this? As I walked home today, I asked for forgiveness… It seems I do this every day! “Forgive my sharp tongue and my judgmental imagination!” It’s not for me to judge; it’s for me to pray and vote. Done…. but I look up, and my guardian angel transmits the message, “Keep praying!”. Keep admitting we have dirty feet and dirty hands (humility). Admit we can’t act alone (be merciful to me O God). Let God’s heart come in contact with our heart. Open up and show God (He’s seen it all). I have to ask God to get out his special Windex and wash me every time I let my mind go awry and every time my lips speak “not love.” God bless us.

Planting seeds

October 25th, 2020

Our friend Renee has a beautiful back yard and front yard flower garden. Renee works hard, pulling weeds and replanting, and the result is beautiful. She has butterflies galore! Last time we visited her, she cut a ginger flower and brought it inside. I could barely restrain myself from hovering over the flower vase while Chuck and Renee watched movies on TV. “Susie, what are you doing in the kitchen, again?” Renee would ask…. “Smelling the ginger.” I would reply with a silly grin. Finally, after moving into our new house with a big back yard, winter breezes, and a pandemic, I have finally dug a garden spot and planted flowers! Come on butterflies! Well, first, the seeds have to sprout and flower… but it will be this year. A Covid garden is something positive that isn’t torn up and reboxed when a puzzle is finished, or returned to the library when Chuck and I have finished a book. This morning I watched Sunday Mass, walked with neighbors and …. after planting seeds, I finished a puzzle and we are watching football! Busy busy! I hope we can continue with safe football! I hope we can find joy in small creations that keep our hearts happy. God bless us!

“What’s that smell?”

October 23rd, 2020

I remember when we moved to Lake Placid, my duty was to go to Xfinity to get signed up for service and to get necessary hardware. I started up my little car, rolled down the windows and took off for Sebring! As I rounded the corner onto Catfish drive I thrilled at the sight of Lake June on my left. The lake stays with us as we weave around it through orange groves. Then we make a big right turn at a circle and continue along the lake side to route 27 north and on to Sebring. I continued that day with my windows open! What freedom I felt in that blowing wind. All alone on the road. wind and orange trees and lake. I still feel that way … except I’ve noticed there have been big smelly bumps in that road of pleasure. Have you ever caught “that smell?” You stop and check the bottom of each shoe. “What did I step in? is your murmur. Well I caught it again today and yesterdy as I drove yesterday to vote and today to Sammy’s Pizza. WOW! This is big time bottom of your shoe smell! The orange groves get fertilized this time of year. With cow manure. It is pungent! Ah!!!!! Another time of year the growers spray pesticides (I think they do that as there is another smelly time, but it’s not manure….). So I wonder if moving to the outies, to the sticks, is indeed better for us than the smoggy oily smell of our big city. I don’t know which is better. Well yes i do. There is no noise. A traffic jam is 3 cars waiting for the train to go by when we are headed “into town.” My belly is full of a lunch time Philly cheese steak sandwich, and, I’m so happy. May all of you get Philly cheese steaks or whatever is your comfort food! Look up! The clouds are beautiful today. Enjoy!!!! God bless us!

The pride of voting!

October 23rd, 2020

Since Chuck and I often bought cruises 3 years in advance and took long car journeys north and west, we always requested ballots for voting by mail. We were often the center of attention at cruise dinner tables, or once at a B&B in England when we lounged around on election day and foreign people asked us lots of questions about our voting process. People don’t understand our electoral college… It’s hard to explain that it kept things even between north and south when slave owners could vote with a heavy impact of being worth more than one vote…. A man was counted based on how many slaves he owned… So a plantation might get 100 votes but have only one man voting. A slave was worth 1/3 or 2/3 of a human being. The census is super important today as it decides how many “votes” a district gets based on how many people live there. I encourage anyone who didn’t vote yet to get your one vote counted… and to study the electoral college and the census. It’s up to “the people” to change things if we want to be counted!

Yesterday at 815am I left the house and got into line at the Lake Placid Community center (the Town hall) to vote with a Rosary and only got in 3 decades. I wore a mask and social distanced… When we entered the hall 5 at a time it was a little crowded but we were moved around and out quickly…. I turned in Chuck’s ballot, turned in my mail in ballot and said I wanted to “punch the ticket.” They handed me a pen and I filled in the little circles on the ballot. I wrote on my ballot, slid it into a computer, and got out!!!! Home one hour after I left the house! I used a double dollop of hand sanitizer at the town hall and washed my hands at home. Back to the routine of walking for one hour and … I am done. I might glance at the last debate (I taped it). or not. I don’t know. I don’t want to get irritated by bad behavior. I want to remain calm and hopeful. I pray for unity and kindness. I hope and pray we will not dissolve into shouting and obstreperousness. Good word isn’t it!!!! Stubbornly resistent to control! What is it I want for us? What did I want to say in my last blog if it wasn’t clear enough? We have a moral standard. It was delivered in the early Old Testament. If one believes God speaks in Scripture then we have our standard. We don’t need a bunch of written rules (laws) with addendums…. We have the basics. No killing. No stealing. This includes no anger that kills the soul. And we have the words of Jesus and his Apostles after him… Love one another. I pray for peace. Let us all ask God to cover us with His Grace! Pour out Grace Lord.

Seeking Peace in a high charged time

October 19th, 2020

I have written about vitriol and vicious words, about rumor, about the separation of us caused by words of accusation. All this caused by discussion of the upcoming election November 3, 2020. I have written about gentleness and kindness; about working together. I have talked about coming together in kindness and working for solutions. I tell my friends to stop “calling names,” as I cannot bear accusations against fellow human beings. Maybe the “name calling” helps the accuser to “get it out,” but it is not my way, and think about it? What would Jesus say? Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Matthew 12:25) We are a divided house. If my friends talk politics I often find myself backing away at their accusations. I say they are name calling. We are divided. I won’t argue, nor will I say ugly things, even if I’m thinking them in my heart. When people label me, say I am left or right, red or blue, etc, and they label me, “a democrat…”, I say, “no, I am not that; I don’t really accept that label. I am a child of God.” We are the same family, children of God, yet we stand on sides of a divide and we feel we have to raise our voices in order to be heard across the divide. While fires rage in the West, people are yelling at each other and tossing molatav cocktails and setting fires in cities, in anger. I thank God that I have eyes to see, and ears to hear, but lately, I have turned the “news” off. My church, the Roman Catholic church is divided. I am accosted and talked to, as if I am in error. Ladies with whom I served and worshipped (I have not been to church since March), they tell me to “come on in, you will be OK” and they accuse government of closing churches. Government closed everything to keep us from catching Covid from each other, now churches are open, and I am protecting myself. Without a vaccine, I don’t feel safe. I won’t go back into church until I feel safe. My friends say “Of course, You are voting for….” “You must vote for…” We stumble around each other with me talking about love and kindness as they look at me askance and pray for me… I believe in the sanctity of life, but in a different way. I believe I must uphold the non negotiable value of life, in the womb, and on the death bed. This is the essence of the moral law handed down by God. We all have received this law written on our hearts. God wrote it there when he knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs (see Psalm 139:13). Anyone who has voted or will vote in the next 15 days should consider abortion. Imagine if there were no need for Roe vs Wade or the Hyde Amendment. Imagine a world where delivering a child live and then killing it, had never even been considered. Just writing the words makes me shudder, but that is what late term abortion is. There should be no laws and no court issues. God already wrote: “Thou shalt not kill.” We stare into an abyss as we write law defining, “how much and when we can kill”. OK so…. rather than a law or court issues; what options do we have for women who don’t want their children? We must gather the funding to care for the women who are considering abortion. Convince the women we will care for them, feed them, educate them, train them for jobs if necessary, deliver their live babies and create adoption solutions. Deliver live babies. This is not to be labled “Socialism.” This is answering God with a big “Yes!” God who said, “Take care of the widows and orphans.” “You shall not harm … orphans…. I will hear their cry.” (Exodus 22: 21) There is a film called “The silent scream” about the pain we inflict on badies when we abort them. Can you imagine God hearing those silent baby screams? The unloved child in the unloving mother’s womb is already an orphan. Give the orphan to a loving mother! The law was written by God! “No killing.” We can’t erase the law written by God even if we break the tablets and don’t allow them to be displayed. OH but where will we get the money? I asked the question on Google and I got two answers “Between 560 and 614 billionaires live in the US” — the most of any country — and they control the most wealth. The internet lists 4 American men, Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Zuckerberg with about $412 billion. I can’t even figure out how much money is $412 Billion? How many zeros? a billion is one thousand million. A lot. Wow!

We are driven to killing and it is a Supreme Court Ruling that allows that. We fight vehemently about this law that enables us to kill small children… Yet it is written in our hearts that we do not kill. How can we all stop killing and yelling and get back to what the Founding Fathers wrote, “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” How can we get back to Life? Back away from the abyss. Grab the hand next to you. Choose life and speak about Life. It is the ultimate kindness and gentleness to choose life. If vitriol is all you can come up with when you talk about the November 3 election, then close your mouth and pray. In Scripture, in 2 Chronicles verse 14, it is written that God says, “If my people will humble themselves and pray… I will heal their land.” We will be healed. The whole of Deuteronomy is Moses’ goodbye to his people whom he led out of Egypt under God’s protection. Moses writes: “For this command is not far from you… it is not up in the sky… it is not across the sea… it is in your mouth and in your hearts… Love God… walk in his ways… Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30: 15-20). Choose to speak life not hatred. Whatever the result is November 3, choose Life; Be at peace; Pray to God. Find a way to believe God directs our life. Find a way to work with God. May the Grace and Peace of our Lord be with us.

20 ladies praying

September 28th, 2020

We gathered under a poster depicting the soldier angel St Michael the Archangel with his foot on Satan’s chest. We all had our Rosary beads and we prayed on the sidewalk outside the police station at Lake Placid. I thought about this gathering in some towns in the US. It might not be peaceful. We might be jeered for supporting the police; for praying for peace. We ended the morning prayer with a rousing hymn… “God bless America.” Acknowledging God as Creator and Father, we left that site in peace to return to our isolation. I thought for a moment that I got too close to several people…. Just in talking and meeting new people. It wasn’t 6 feet separating us. OH what has become of us that we cannot shake hands and hug? Sunday morning on CBS did a beautiful tribute to the baseball player who shook hands with Jackie Robinson as Jackie crossed the plate after his first home run. That handshake was the first of what didn’t happen at that time! It was 1946 and white people didn’t touch black people. Now once again, we can’t touch due to virus and I miss it! It will be a while before we can hug, and I pray for peace and a good vaccine! We lay before the Lord our necessities: Cure this land of virus. Cure this land of prejudice and hatred. It’s hard to keep faith in hard times, but we must keep looking up to the sky, to the Cross, and realize that our Creator walked on this earth and promised he is with us!!! We are reading the book of Job in daily Mass… “God it hurts,” Job will say, but Job will not lose faith or disrespect God. St Peter wrote that we must cast all our cares on the Lord for he loves us. Let us enter the last month before elections with prayer for our country and our leaders. Be humble and do your jobs!!!! The rest of us: VOTE!!! God bless us.

make new friends but keep the old!!!

September 26th, 2020

My girlfriend Bonnie celebrated her ….. birthday yesterday! I remembered back to when we were 14 in the locker room in the gym at Southwest High School. 14 years old… debating Elvis vs the Beatles. Debating boy friends. Debating … well what do teenaged girls debate? I remember her mom coming in to tell us to get to sleep when I slept over. 14 years old… Then I met Chuck and Bonnie knew him from when they were “really young”… My Matron of Honor 50 years ago… We have kept close along with all the wedding party except George who passed away this year. Chuck and I keep friends close. Seek the old friends during this time of isolation and find out how they are doing!!! I ask Bonnie “How are you kiddo?” and she answers… “Fine”. Bonnie has been through more than I have. She lost her husband while I still baby mine. But, she will survive. as we all will. It’s our job. Happy day all my “Old friends”… God bless us.

Today I joined my friends from St James and actually some others from the Baptist church which is wonderful!!! We met outside the Lake Placid Police department and prayed the Rosary asking for help from St Michael the Archangel and the mother of God, Mary, for our police… We pray that we hold on to the Joy that Jesus promises if we have faith. Have Joy because we are safe in God’s arms. He made us… Would he ever let us go?

In Luke chapter 5, Jesus orders the disciples to fish some more and they tell him they have been fishing all night and got nothing… But, he says, “Go!…” and they catch enough to sink a ship! Jesus says, “Go out into the deep”, and .. because they trust God, they go. This is going to be a tough month and it is going to require a lot of prayer for us to stay sweet and sane! Remember, God pours out Grace always. Be calm. Stay sane, and be kind. God bless you!

Tom Sawyer anyone?

September 12th, 2020

We expanded our dock a few months ago and moved the boat lift to the other end allowing us a bigger shaded space than the original had. But as some know, when wood is laid, it needs to be sealed and perhaps colored. Chuck did as much sealer as we had and then we had to order more. It came and it sat. The shine was off the installation. The Joy was gone… So I said; “I’ll paint it.” It has been SO HOT, that a morning walk wipes me OUT, but there is a tropical storm coming… maybe just a tropical depression, but it provided wind this morning. Ah! wind!!! If the sun shines here in Lake Placid, and the wind is still, we rack up temps in the high 90s. Out I went and along came Chuck to open the can. Then he proceeded to watch and advise… Soon, he thought I would fall off the dock and I said, “You are right,” looking down off the narrow place I was standing…. handed him the roller and said, “if you will do this part, I can pull weeds.” Now this was a Tom Sawyer of sorts, but i still had to work… I weeded the back shrubbery and cleaned up 4 orchids with some new mulch. Then into the showers. Now the big storm is coming in from the south and we will have bad weather for a day. God bless us and protect all my dear neighbors and friends.

Driving across America

September 9th, 2020

Good morning! For our 50th Wedding Anniversary, I bought Chuck and me an American Road Trip puzzle. 1000 pieces travel from East to West, North to South, include Alaska, but not Hawaii. When we plug in the Statue of Liberty or Niagara Falls we have to talk about visiting there. As we plug in the Grand Canyon or Montana and the great Presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, we remember the drive home from Kingman Arizona with me coughing in the front seat with pneumonia. Yes, we missed the great Mount Rushmore and the beautiful Yosemite, but we have still done A LOT!!!! I think all the memories led me to consider our favorite cruises… And I came up with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Ahhh! I used to buy 2 cruises and cruise 21 days back to back. Those certainly were the old days weren’t they? I would sit at my computer and make plans; writing on 8 1/2 sheets of paper our daily drive if it was across the US, up the Mississippi or across routes 10 or 40…. Or the ways to get to and from the cruises; the events on the cruises. Ah yes, those were the days. Now it’s “shall we walk all the way to the park or walk down to the Dollar Store and back on Anderson drive?” It’s not “go to show,” it’s pull weeds or work on puzzle. Buy yesterday as we sat on our dock, it was just like our balcony!!!! Only here we can see turtle noses!!!! Thank God. What’s your memory? What’s your dream for 2021? God bless us!

The nun who swung

August 28th, 2020

I have said so many times for us to quit labeling each other… “A democrat”, “a republican”, “a liberal”, “a conservative”, “A Jew for Jesus”, and more. So I ask, “Why can’t we just say what we want and go for it?” Doesn’t everybody want life, love, freedom, safety? What happened to us that we are fighting and shouting? I’ve watched almost all of the Conventions. I taped them on DVR so I could watch during the day without nodding off to sleep… and don’t you know I missed night 3 of the RNC when the nun spoke. So I’m now watching night 3… I need to hear what she says. She “was” a democrat and is now voting republican. It is on one (most important) issue. The right to life. That might well be a deal breaker. I understand Kamala Harris on whom many of us have pinned our hope, supports abortion into the 9th month of pregnancy; abortion of a viable life.

On night 3 of the RNC, a Mother spoke of her OB/GYN asking her to abort her baby because he was a Down’s Syndrome child, but she would not end his life, rather she fights for her child getting “an equal seat at the table” claiming children’s needs must be met the same as anyone’s: life, education, love. Life first. In case you missed night 3, here is Sr. Dede Byrne’s speech:

Good evening. I am Sister Dede Byrne, and I belong to the Community of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Last Fourth of July, I was honored to be one of the president’s guests at his Salute to America celebration. I must confess that I recently prayed while in chapel, begging God to allow me to be a voice, an instrument for human life. And now here I am, speaking at the Republican National Convention. I guess you’d better be careful what you pray for. My journey to religious life was not a traditional route, if there is such a thing. In 1978, as a medical school student at Georgetown University, I joined the Army to help pay for my tuition, and ended up devoting 29 years to the military, serving as a doctor and a surgeon in places like Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. After much prayer and contemplation, I entered my religious order in 2002, working to serve the poor and the sick in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq and in Washington, D.C. Humility is at the foundation of our order, which makes it very difficult to talk about myself. But I can speak about my experience working for those fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries all around the world. Those refugees all share a common experience. They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn. As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave. It is no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb. Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life? As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday. Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary. Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.

Bugs and Flowers

August 25th, 2020

I’m listening to the news to see what the 2 conventions are proposing, and I’m hearing some accusations, bitterness, and name calling. There is a lot of we and they… Whatever happened to The United States that the fore fathers tried to establish. It may be that uniting 50 different states isn’t working? Maybe the Federal government just isn’t up to governing us any longer??? Should states care for themselves? I am sent out into the garden to look at what God did in creation… bugs and flowers, sunshine and storm. As he created, he sat back and looked and said “It is good!” (6 times). When he finished, he looked around and he said, “It is very good”. (see Genesis 1). We live today with bugs and flowers, sunshine and storm. We are praying now for the Gulf coast about to be attacked by storm. We live with good intentions and angry gensures. What we live with is nature and reality. The reality of life is messy. Let us pray for what we need to live - food for the hungry. Beds and books for homeless children. Peace. Health. A cessation to name calling and blame. Love sees what we need. Let us pray for our leaders to see what we need: Peaceful dialog, dignity, loving care, justice, openness to Grace. What else? You add your needs. God bless us. God bless America.

“When I get where I’m Goin’”

August 18th, 2020

Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton sing this song together and something just struck me. Brad Paisley sings, “When I’m get where I’m going, I’ll walk with my Grand Pappy…”. Well, I realized, I never met any of my grandparents. They were all gone before I was born, and some stories like those about my Irish Grandfather are of a rather wild hard drinking Irishman from whom I steered clear. Mother talked about her family, but not much; she was very busy with three small children and the ghost of several angels in heaven that made my mother quiet…. You know who I want to meet and talk with? My Mother’s mother. I’ve only seen one photo of her. By current standards she was a small dumpy woman. Probably in a homemade cotton dress with those old lady high top shoes. She doesn’t show the beauty my Mother shows in her high school picture that I have on my dining room dresser. “Grandmother, I didn’t know you, but I find myself spouting bits of wisdom that I attribute to my Mother. Did you teach her that wisdom? I thank you for that Grand Mother. I thank you that you saw something bright in my mother and you sent her off to nursing school when some of the others before her did not finish high school. Thank You Grandmother.” God bless us today in the USA. God bless the immigrants who came here: all 4 of my grandparents from Italy and Ireland. Thank you for that journey that made me an American.

A million Rosaries

August 17th, 2020

My friend Bonnie asked why we pray Hail Mary…. over and over, repeating the Hail Mary 50 times in a Rosary over 1/2 hour…. And I told her, it’s not just Hail Mary … a greeting from the angel Gabriel to Mary in St Luke’s first chapter, he calls Mary “Full of Grace” and tells Mary she will be the mother of God, but also it ends with us asking Mary to pray for us…. So it like saying “Hello Mother… You are so blessed and so wonderful. I love you. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death.” My sisters and I have been so blessed that all of us have had Mother present at the birth of children (well not me… sorry Mom), and after surgeries. I will never forget watching Mother and my doctor touching the wound in my belly after surgery. … Mom and the doctor. What better thing can we ask? and wouldn’t it be the grandest thing to have our mother there with us, at the hour of death? Many of us can’t have our mother with us, as she has preceeded us. So we pray to Mary, Mother of God, who was given over to John’s care at the death of her Son on the cross. “This is your mother.” We take that statement by Jesus from the cross, literally.

Today and yesterday as I watched Mass, the EWTN priest talked about the Million Rosary March. The church is attempting to pray a million Rosaries, and actually counting them through our commitment of time. So if I commit, they know Susie Peabody will pray 100 rosaries between now and December 8, 2020. Check. 100 rosaries. and onward to December when we will reach 1 million. The prayers are for the Covid victims, those sick and those who died. And the prayers are for those who need mercy and healing of their hearts that are full of anger, resentment, violence, all sickness. It just so happens that I am listening to a voice of the Holy Spirit. I heard the priest on the TV on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t until middle of the night that I realized I will pray a Rosary a day at the park, at the circle here in Lake Placid outside the school. I will pray for the health and safety of our school children who started school today. As I sat at the picnic table in the park, I prayed and watched school children in the school yard, in and out, phys ed I guess. There was a loud speaker announcement. Remember those? A disembodied voice comes at you and you have to be quiet…. “shhhh”. It all floods over me when I sit still and listen in the park. Make your own personal commitment. It doesn’t have to be Hail Marys although it sure is comforting to know you have a Mother who will be with you…. “now and at the hour of your death”, it can be reading prayers and meditations for 1/2 hour. Pray for the children. Peace, safety. God bless America.

OOPs USPS changes to save $$$ at the wrong time

August 16th, 2020

Let’s say you were called in to “fix things” at an agency or a warehouse or anywhere… because they are in the “red”… Go for it. Make a plan to address the money problems. It might take some cut backs, it might take some changes… Hope if it is a needed service, you will make some great creative changes that somehow save money. I used to do this: First , I looked at the detail on the bills, I made some preconceived notions, then I went out into the warehouse or wherever I was and watched. Gradually I made some decisions as to what needs to be changed to save some money, or to make money. Every leader does this. The postal service has been bleeding since Trump took over. Need to make changes. But not during election time and Corona Virus time when we all need our checks and our mail because we are ordering online… and oh by the way we don’t want to go stand in line at the polls with hundreds of others… Ah! Social distancing and Isolation. Chuck and I have done mail in ballots due to our incredible blessing of being able to travel. Only twice in the past 10 years did we go to the polls. I will probably go to the polls this time. I’ll early vote on the first or second day. I want my vote counted, and I want to be safe. God bless America.

Its up to US

August 14th, 2020

The announcement of a VP candidate by Biden closes another chapter in a book that is being written as we breathe. Whatever we want or think will be voted and done by November 4. Voting is a fundamental right, granted to all of us citizens, white, black, brown, women, men… I hope everyone will vote and then…. Accept the count. It would be so good for our collective hearts, blood pressures, souls and minds if we would settle down and start campaigning fairly, without ugliness. There are issues about heredity being debated which is the problem with labeling… It’s gets harder and harder in our mixed race environment to call us by a name….. It was always the “rule” to call anyone with any black in them Black. And the rest of us are white. Now there’s Black, Brown, Yellow, and white. I guess I’m pretty sure I’m white as an Irish-Italian (assuming Black folks didn’t get into Ireland or the hills above Rome to be in my heritage). I feel bad that the color of my face helped me rather than the work and study I did… But that is how the game has always been played. I wish we would give up the labels and talk issues. But we won’t will we? I have said it before…. I believe in God, the Father, the Creator. I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Redeemer. The rest is just frosting on the cake.

My sister says “not to be preachy, Susie” … On a lighter note, Chuck commissioned me to paint the garage windows because I complained about being able to see from the street and the front walk all his “Cr_P” on shelves in the garage in front of the garage windows. He’s not going to throw the bins and boxes full of man-stuff away, and I can’t make him do it as it’s HIS garage; so another mural is in the planning stage. This is 2 full sized windows about 8 feet by 4 feet. Today we clipped the hedges in front of the windows and I’m working on a prototype in the art room. Keeps me busy. I will make a water scene with palm trees and a big American egrit center stage. Come on inspiration!!!! Thank you angels for keeping the spiders away. God bless us!!!

Gratitude inspired by Charlie Paparelli.

August 13th, 2020

Charlie wrote: My friend is dying. He said, “I looked out the window of my office. I saw the beauty of my surroundings. I asked God, ‘Can’t I stay just a few more years?’”

My friend told me this last week. I can’t stop thinking about it. And the more I think about it, the more I understand what is essential in life. His thinking exposed me to much I now appreciate.

My friend loves his wife, his children, his son and daughter-in-law, his grandchildren, his purposeful work and ministry, his friends, and his church family. In short, he loves his life and does not want to leave it.

I love all of this too. But am I grateful?

I once told this same friend how I sometimes battle depression.
He, like me, is one of those people whose reflex is to give advice.

He said, “Each day, I write a list of all the things I am grateful for. I am amazed at how the list seems to grow and grow. The people, the circumstances, the beauty, the problems, the way things have worked out. Even the illness I am struggling with.”

One day I followed his advice. I was depressed. I was in one of those dark moods which blots out any sense of optimism. Sometimes even hope. I wrote the list. It was difficult. I realized my list always starts with people. It never really has anything to do with my stuff or even my environment. People. Always people.

Truth be told. My making this “gratitude list” didn’t help me. It didn’t overcome the depression.
Then I realized, I need to write the list to avoid depression, not overcome it. My friend doesn’t seem to suffer from depression because he is grateful from the moment he opens his eyes. And then he writes his list of all he is grateful for. That is the key.

To Charlie: Wonderful memory piece. It’s hard to sit down and write, “What i am grateful for:”… And you are right. First the people God has placed in our life. Then look out and up… The sky, the clouds. Even when the dark clouds roll in and thunder rolls! Beautiful. Then tune in your ears…. The little clinks coming from the kitchen, the sound of running water. Go outside and listen to the birds. Look for butterflies. Amazing! all beautiful! And made just for us. Read Genesis 1. Six times God said, “It is good.” The seventh time he spoke, he said, “It is very good.” Ah! It is very good. Keep breathing and repeating what God said, ABOUT US! “It is good; it is very good.” Thank you God my Father. Thank you for the Supreme sacrifice you made FOR ME. I will see you God and I thank you thank you thank you.

God bless you Charlie.

Shaking trees!

August 3rd, 2020

If I open my mouth, I shake a tree with my words… and I ask questions like “what is ‘the left’?” “What is a liberal?” “What is Conservative, anyway?” “So medical treatment costs a lot, and your diabetic friend with Obama Care stands in line for hours to get treatment… who should pay for it?” “Why did a person killing another person on camera look into the camera so beligerantly? was he trying to make a point?” “Who paid him?” “Is it really 3 months until election? and what difference will that make in our country?” “Do we really think things will change if Pelosi, McConnell, and Trump are changed out?” and finally, “I think the election won’t make a difference in the rhetoric.” Wow! That should take a load off my chest for a few moments, but it doesn’t. I believe it will take a remarkable effort of leaders and citizens to bring the USA together. Saying things that marginalize, disunify, and antagonize cannot improve our toxic environment. We need unparalled leadership; Congress, Senate, Executive, and Justice Branches that speak to each other in non-toxic ways. No “Twitter”, but talk from faces that is balanced, and not ugly. No use of words like “fraud,” “hoax,” or “lies” unless we can show the source. We have a choice to lose hope.

Every day, my niece Jennie’s husband takes a photo of the sunrise on his way to work and sends it to her. How sweet is that bit of love, sent every day? A small beautiful act that opens a day that could be physically or mentally frustrating… but a day that starts with a flower to the heart. All day long, remember the sunrise. Send sunrises. Call out Love! Remember Martha who said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, Lazarus would have lived.” He does live! Jesus, nods his head, back and forth, and says, “Martha, Martha, if only you have faith…” And then Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb. (John 11). We have to have faith. Maybe we are being marched off to Babylon until we change. We can either react with Faith and Love, or we can react with Toxic words and hate. We have a choice. As Moses said…. “Choose Life.”

In daily Mass lately, the Old Testament readings have been from Jeremiah, the last Prophet who pleaded with the people of Judah to change their hearts or get carriend off to Babylon. Jeremiah wrote, “The lord spoke to me… ‘ Go, cry out. The people have dug broken cisterns that hold no water’ ” We have created wells that hold no water. Our hearts are full of leaks and holes. We have “created” that which is no good. We kill with our hands and our mouths, yelling at each other. Jeremiah cried out when Jerusalem was without a shepherd. People stopped speaking of hope and healings. People shouted of pain and fear. People stopped reflecting God, and started reflecting the fear inside their broken hearts. They got carried off and when they returned, priests prayed, “Have pity on us O Lord, and don’t let us return to the way we were. Change our hearts…” Today we plead, “Change our hearts, encounter us, O God-Man Jesus… Change our hearts.” Today, let us speak of Jesus, let us be light. Let us think of what our mother’s taught us! I told a young man yesterday, “Remember what your mother taught you.” And I prayed she wasn’t full of rage and pain. Speak of cooperation and compassion. Educate children with love.

On my birthday and for a few days afterwards, the church readings talked about sowing seed. Some people sow weeds and some sow good seed. If we water the seed, it will grow. Will it bear good fruit? Hover over the bean and watch! Yes there’s beans. Lots of them! Weeds grow, but God and angels who attend all deaths, separate the weeds and fruit, the goats from sheep, and the weeds are pulled out at the end, and they get burned by the farmer-God. If we didn’t believe this, we wouldn’t have Mother Teresa’s houses of care all over the world. One small woman accomplished so much because she asked God for help. Daily, constantly. How did she attract young women to join her to help people in the hell of poorest India? God brings good out of the fallen world. We must have faith that the fruit will grow and the weeds will be thrown out. So the Gospels say, “Be light! Be leaven! Pray for those who look like they are strangling from the weeds.” Right now, that is some of us who are being strangled.

“Only do the right… Love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.” wrote the prophet Micah 6: 1-8. Walk humbly. Speak gently. Expect life. Expect Peace.

Neighbors

July 17th, 2020

Neighbors are SO important. Here in Lake Placid our neighbors to the west are away all the year and they rent the house to strangers in winter. To the east, they live in Chicago and come here occasionally. Oh dear…. Across the canal lives a couple we talk a lot to across the canal. Since we are isolating we don’t dock sit and talk; we talk across an expanse of a 20 foot canal. Today I saw people drive up to the house across the street where a sale pending sign resides (across street was a family that lives in Naples… we rarely saw them either.) NOW the new buyers are a very nice lady Laura Lee and her husband Joseph who want to move here full time and her 2 cousins live on these canals too!!! I’m excited because she says she likes to walk, and she is very sweet! I recommended our cement guy and our dock guy as both did great jobs for us. We miss our across the fence and lake neighbors Kathie, George, and Mike, and our lake friends. We used to pontoon to Glen’s and drink on his dock.

This has been another tough week for the nation… Florida’s “Covid numbers” are suspect and called fake and lies. Do we have a surge of Covid here? Should we give it all up and go back outside??? Of course Chuck and Sue are still isolated. I don’t go to church yet…. I wear a mask to Publix. But if you listen to our governor and our president, we have no problem. Miami has a problem though… there was an act of violence that shocked me in Miami very close to my friend Bonnie’s house at 137 Avenue and Sunset Drive. Bonnie lives about 8 blocks away. Someone (they) tore down a statue of Jesus at Good Shepherd Catholic church and decapitated Him. Can you imagine? I was struck to my belly. I guess I understand ripping down Confederate statues (not Cristopher Columbus or Abraham Lincoln for heaven’s sake), but Jesus? The church prayed for the people who did it, and I will send a donation. In the Book of Wisdom, we are called to fidelity to God’s Law. A wise man is called to love God in a fallen world. A wise man must follow the Ten Commandments which are all about love not hate. Not violence. If we are shaken today by violence, sickness, lack of work, ugliness, we must be “salt” and we must cast light. (Matt 5:13)

Pray for the day when children will ask “What is Hate?” Pray, “Lord, the one you love is sick. Come to our aid.” God bless you.

What I believe

July 12th, 2020

When I walk with my Lake Placid friends (there are two friends I walk with in the church parking lot where there are a lot of wonderful shade trees or on Placid Lakes Boulevard - lots of trees and we walk to Lake June park and we look out at the lake) … anyhow when we walk the talk is generally Covid, politics, the labels people apply to us (Conservative, Liberal, Dem or Repub etc), the future (election, socialism, riots, recession)… We generally talk about family and if someone listened in they would wonder how we ever have enough oxygen to walk we talk so much. I have iterated several time that I don’t believe in lables… I don’t want to have some say “you are this, this, and this, therefore you believe in this this and this.” Suddenly I said, outloud as if I were with my friends, “I believe… in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ the only Son of God…” I laughed as I heard my voice out there on Placid Lakes Boulevard… and I continued…”Who was conceived of the Virgin Mary, was baptized, suffered, died and was buried. ” Continue through the Resurrection, Ascension and Descent of the Holy Spirit. I recited the whole Nicean Creed there on the sidewalk. So I just continued with the Rosary. It is a 45 minute walk and prayer. Occasionally I would stop to breathe. If you walk and pray out loud, you run out of oxygen. Think about this next time you use a label. What is most important is to remember that we believe and that can’t be labled. And I think most Christian faiths say the Creed.

It’s Sunday and daily Mass readings (on TV; I’m not back to Church yet.) filled me with thoughtfulness. Scripture speaks of suffering….. In Romans 8:18, St Paul wrote, “The suffering of this present time are as nothing compared with the Glory to be revealed… wait for adoption and redemption.” I wrote, “What is the Key Word? WAIT” In Matthew 13: 1-23, Jesus patiently explained the Parable of the sower: I’ll paraphrase. You dig a hole in the earth and plant a seed in the ground (the man in the parable scattered the seed). You water and watch the sun warm the earth. You know a good thing is coming! Remember early Biology classes. Didn’t we plant beans? and we rejoiced when two green sprouts came up! Soon (think here of Jack and the Bean Stalk), soon we had a vine full of beans! This always happens! Beans sprout. It’s a pretty good lesson for kids. It’s a good exercise for our times, for those of us who think our bean will never sprout. We are stuck here in the dark, on the couch. For those of us who accuse God of being hidden. Where are you God? Isaiah 55:10, Isaiah says God is at work. His end will be achieved. He perseveres and he rescues the Jews from Babylon. He rescues us.

My friend tells me our world is in chaos. Uproar. Burning. Police, symbol of protectors, are (some of them) being ugly (some) and they are attacked and ambushed. Chuck always said that police wear a target on their backs. People are violent, tearing down anything they can get their hands on (that they don’t believe in). There’s that word believe. So what about the bean? If it is cultured, taught, loved, watered, it grows deep roots and withstands storm. The roots grow deep and seek moisture that we can’t see. Drought comes, but we have faith in the success of that little bean. Let us pray that the bean’s roots hold; that his foundation is deep enough to withstand fire, flood, and drought. Compassion and love planted that seed, gentle values. Yes we had to fight for freedom of the states, and now we have to express the values we cherish. Save the bean!!!! How about intentional, random acts of kindness. Go meet the people on your street (keep a safe distance.) God bless us. Angels with us.

If only I can touch his cloak…

July 10th, 2020

My neighbor’s dock is all messy, falling down, broken and weedy. There are actually several messy docks like this in our remarkable beautiful series of canals, and neighbors are complaining on our neighborhood message board. Why don’t I go over there and ask if I can help repair it? It just needs the broken logs pulled up onto the lawn and carried to the street. The water is cool so I can stand in the water and pull the weeds. Why don’t I do that? Rather than yelling about the mess? Just move!

Do you remember (maybe from your long ago past) a story in the Bible about a woman suffering for years from hemorrarages(icky very icky)… She was an outcast and shunned because of the blood. Jesus walked by, and she, cast out as unclean because she was bleeding, sneaked forward and reached her hand out between the legs and feet of people… and she touched the tassel on his cloak. “If only I can touch the tassel on his cloak, I will be healed.” He felt that (faith?). He knows each heart and knows what’s in each heart (”I need help,” our heart whispers). (Matthew 9:18). What if we return to earlier days when mama taught us to pray. I remember one time I was standing in the doorway to Mom’s kitchen (doorway between dining room and kitchen in the Euclid apartment). I remember this vividly. I was complaining mightily about a relative who I felt wronged me… Mom listened, waited for me to catch my breath, and said, “Today is Saturday, you need to get to church and go to Confession.” Oh darn. That was the last thing I wanted to hear. I wanted SUPPORT. “You are right Susie, that woman is mean to you.” Nope. “Get to church.” I plodded up the road. The church was walkable, about 4 blocks. I sat down with the priest. Surely he will take my case. “‘Pray for her,’ he said.” Another “O darn.” What is this, a conspiracy? Yes it is. By the great One, Jesus. He is the One who said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” “Rest in me.” … He conspires to get us close to his heart. So then what?

Pain, anguish, suffering all are valid emotions that we feel, and maybe feel worse now that the television is once again filled with images of ICUs filled with Covid patients in Florida and Texas as opposed to New York and New Jersey who were filled, but now cases are declining. Doctors and Mayors are begging for help… and it seems none is coming except pushes to “open up.” Where do we get our strength? Where do we find peace? We can’t see the healing like it happened when Jesus healed and people jumped up and danced around praising God. Maybe our population is too large and the distance between us means we can’t see the miracles, but the miracles are happening. A priest on EWTN said God is like a magnet and we are like a piece of iron…. He draws us in. If we allow ourselves to get close enough, “Clump!” we are up against him. But we have to be still and listen. Now what? Hosea 11 says, ” ‘My heart is overwhelmed with pity,’ says the Lord.” He says we the people are like lost sheep who don’t have a shepherd. (Matthew 9:32). Can we accept that we have no shepherd? We are milling about, bleating for help… But we don’t get help. In Ezekiel 34, the Lord said, “I will shepherd my sheep.” Maybe that’s it. Settle down, go speak with Jesus, be still. Watch and learn. Help that neighbor… Embrace peace. God bless us. Angels with us.

Nu Normal

July 8th, 2020

Does every generation say: “I think at this time that our country is changing a lot.” Words change meanings. The younger ones don’t respect what the older ones respect. Spellings are fooled with, and new words are invented that quickly become “normal.” Commas have disappeared and now we just use dashes and …

No kidding. Life is in flux right now! We see in Europe and Russia statues of dictators being torn down. We have done it ourselves for people we have liberated. We are now doing it ourselves. To ourselves. I think a whole generation of “people who know” (old people) are being whittled out (the nursing home people that are so vulnerable and dying). I am on the cusp of vulnerable. I don’t work. I use my social security, that I earned and gave to the government for safe keeping, But they spent it, and now that they have to give it back to me, they resent that… The poor and the vulnerable who don’t work, or who have few skills, and the old and sick will be “sacrificed” to Corona virus to bring our economy back. Fortunately, Chuck and I can take care of ourselves. We can afford to live isolated and not go out. Thank God. There isn’t anything I can do except pray and stay healthy. I think about my sweet Mom, who prayed several Rosaries a day a lot! I ask her and our Blessed Mother for advice all the time! Thank heaven for EWTN as I haven’t been to church since mid-March… I try to stay safe, When I think of something that might help or might be funny, I still blog but don’t have the heart for it lately as what I am thinking…. isn’t fun any more! Life is very good in Lake Placid. Dock sitting is lovely except it’s too HOT!!! So we try to go pontooning at 7pm.

I’m reminded of Ray Stevens who sang: “Don’t look Ethel!” Remember the song “the Streaker!” Well life and our government deserve to be ignored while we tightly shut our eyes…. My friend who is staunchly what she calls Conservative (I don’t use titles or put people in boxes or put names to what a person is…), her son yells at her because he is “liberal.” Whatever those two titles mean. Atlanta, Portland and other cities are under fire and Mayors fight with governors. Our governor in FLA says we are OK as we lead the nation in virus cases! All we can do is “Hunker down. Exercise and get in shape.” Try to stay alive. Pray a lot. What’s the future? Look up to the beautiful sky that changes constantly. Maybe that’s what it is! Flux. God bless us! Angels with us. I’m headed out walking. Love you.

As careful as I can… Is it enough?

July 4th, 2020

Good day gentle reader! Yesterday I went to my favorite park where I walk in the mornings. This time, we went by pontoon boat and sat and talked to friends whom we have known since we were 16 years old… Across the table, more than 6 feet apart, outside. Good right? Today Chuck said, “When you went to get our barbeque, you were elbow to elbow getting the food plates.” Oh darn. It’s actually the closest I’ve been to people since March. Now what? Wait 14 days? I just read a Washington Post article wherein Fauci was interviewed. He is 79 years old and considers himself very high risk. If they get take out and have an outside picnic, all the delivery food is in separate containers so no one has to stand near anyone to scoop their beans. OOPS. He says he wears a mask in public and he will not fly. I hope hope we can live through this pandemic without killing off many more Americans. I’ve read that even when one heals, there is damage to heart, lungs and possibly brain. So, my dears, don’t cluster around the food. Take your own food to picnics. I’m staying inside again and being more careful.

Today is 4th of July when our Founding Fathers pronounced the Declaration of Independence in 1776. And kept slaves until 1865. It wasn’t until 1965 that America wrote what we thought was “final” legislation giving rights to people of color. I am sure many of my older friends remember how Black people were treated, and still are treated. The Declaration of Independence did not address individual freedoms… It was to separate the States from England and her despotic king. It wasn’t for 90 years that slaves were finally freed. So our Founding Fathers owned slaves, but that wasn’t illegal. I think it’s time to let that go. People made terrible mistakes. Let us move forward today in peace and prayer. Let us ask God to help us to humbly make changes that truly make people equal and safe. Go please to your google sites and read the Declaration of Independence, and start today being kinder. God bless America. Angels with us.

Is Bigger and Better Best?

July 2nd, 2020

This morning as the Market opened, President Trump held a news conference to announce jobs growth. While he spoke, the market opened and climbed 400 points over yesterday’s number. The President promised a bigger and better, even best 3rd quarter economy, just in time for the election. But meanwhile, men like Anthony Fauci and hospital center directors across the nation are warning us we could have between 50,000 and 100,000 Americans stricken with Corona virus every day. I do not watch a lot of TV news, but I have seen 2 walk throughs of hospitals, and in both cases, doctors try to show what Corona virus does. It turns the lungs into a disaster area. If respirator is required, it means the lungs can’t work and airways are turning bloody and fragile. Who is going on respirators and dying? The old, the fragile, the vulnerable, the poor who live crowded together. Those of us who can afford to stay home are doing all right. We can afford to stay home and we should. Those who have to go to work to feed families are succumbing to virus and carrying it home. The ones who are partying and getting sick should be seriously chastised and sent to their rooms. A report indicated that Florida should get a stay at home order, and our governor won’t even say we should wear masks. Life right now is crazy, and the only hope we have is to isolate. And it’s coming on 4th of July weekend!!!! So is Bigger and Better Best? The President thinks so. What do YOU think? God bless us. Angels with us.

In this storm

July 1st, 2020

My friend Pat and I walked and talked in the church parking lot on Monday, talking of the “awful” things happening in this world, about those in our families who claim to have no faith, who might get sick through careless behavior, … other items of discussion were man’s inhumanity to man, careless treatment of children, pandemic, our fears… As we talked I became increasingly aware that we could let fear overwhelm us if we don’t stop and look up. I felt stalled, but I could only say, as others have said to me, “The Lord is in control.” We can’t see him and his controlling, compassionate hand, but we can read and see him in Scripture. See Matthew 8:23. A huge storm threatens the small boat carrying 12 men and Jesus “to the other shore.” Jesus sleeps. Finally, the frightened men wake him up, crying, “Save us O lord!” “O you of little faith,” he answers peacefully.

In 64AD, Nero initiated mass persecutions of Christians, ripping them up, feeding them to his animals, burning them alive, in his Circus which is now the site of St Peter’s in Rome. The first martyrs died, “covered in the blood of Christ,” singing, “Lord save us!” We are challenged today, and he continues to answer, “O you of little faith. You still doubt me!” Today, Matthew continues (8: 28), Jesus sent demons into swine and sent them all tumbling into the lake to drown. The townspeople, not liking that solution, begged Jesus to leave the area! Not liking what is happening… Not believing the Lord is aware and in control? So my Mom might ask, “So what are you gonna do?” Continue forward, head facing forward, looking up. Beautiful sky today, by the way, looking like balls of cotton!!! God bless us! Angels with us.

Planning

June 28th, 2020

Remember when we had jobs and a yearly plan and even a 5 year plan was vital? In evaluations bosses would ask, “What would you like to accomplish in the next month that will lead to achieving your plan for 2020? … Where would you like to be in 2021?” Now that I am retired, from several careers, I have different goals: I have some plans for myself like “losing 20 pounds” “walking an hour a day daily and keeping at it” “Painting a few canvases and joining the art leagues in my town when things open up again and virus is under control” …. and that is for 2020. I’d like to celebrate New Years Eve on the lake watching fireworks! I’d be happy celebrating 4th of July on the lake!!!! I’d like to Be peaceful, healthy, agile. I’d like to feel joy, and give joy. Short term, long term that is what goals are all about. There is no money in my goals. God has been good to us, and we have enough. I think being peaceful is the biggest. God sent the disciples out to preach and teach, and he said, “Take nothing. Eat what is given to you and sleep where you are taken in.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to trust the Lord? The gospel is not about prosperity, it’s about suffering… It’s about the Way of the Cross. It’s about changing our hearts and praying for “the others.” Today is Sunday… traditional day of going to church … At least let us go out and praise God for the beauties of nature he has given to us. Amen! Alleluia! Thank God. Angels with us.