Soul Cleaning

June 11th, 2021

“You know how to do this,” the nurse said to me during a “wellness visit” that Medicare pays for. Chuck and I said, “why not?” when our doctor insisted we sit with a nurse and talk about wellness. I know what I have.. the aneurysm, and I get checked. I do all the normal annual and other scheduled visits I need to do… So what else?

“How many times a day do you eat vegetables?” She looked up expectantly at my silence. I glanced over at Chuck who was looking at me too, seeing if I would lie? “Not very often,” I mumbled. “Grains?” she continued. “Grains?” I answered. “Do beans count?” I was getting desperate to please this lady, and I was batting zero. “Water, first thing in the morning,” she said, “when you get up. A glass of water?” “Coffee,” I whispered, as I slid down in my chair. “OK” she said cheerily, “Exercise!” She is grasping now. I looked over at Chuck’s growing tummy. Pillsbury dough boy has nothing on us. Chuck, God bless him, said,”I get the mail every day!” The nurse looked at me, and she grinned, “short driveway?” OK this is not good. She’s got us down. I guessed the short walk to the mailbox didn’t impress her. So then she started talking about our will and our executor as if that’s the next step. “Well,” she said, kindly, “you know what you are supposed to be doing”…. “Yeah yeah yeah, eat vegetables every day. Eat whole grains. Drink a bottle of water before coffee.”

Sedentary is not good. Ice cream is not good. Popcorn is not whole grains. Knee pain is “a first sign of….” and it goes down hill from there. So I got yoga pants in a larger size and started off to yoga 4 days a week. I’m still rehabbing my knee since I tried to ride my bike, uphill, off our street. So I ride now to the beginning of the hill and walk up. I’m slow but sure. I come home from yoga and pull weeds. Now this does sometimes lead to me falling into bed for a nap at noon, but I figure it’s a start. Broccoli, asparagus, and carrots have been added and I actually drink a whole glass of water before my 830am yoga class!

So much for the physical body; my yoga instructor, Beth, working on our bodies, is also working on our Spirit. She’s digging around for the tiny muscles that scream and shout when I try to do poses from my knees. I can’t lay on my belly and lift both arms. Yet. … In “the child’s pose” my butt is up in the air while others sink placidly flat onto their calves. Beth makes us breathe. “How’s your breath?” she asks. “How’s your neck?” “Inhale and turn to the right. Exhale and turn to the left.” “Don’t strain; it’s only yoga.” Huffing and puffing, groaning a lot, and often sitting on the floor in confusion… I am trying to do some soul cleaning! You see, Beth sees this as us getting to know our body and our spirit. Can’t do something? Modify the exercise. No pushing or pulling, just gentle moving. Clear the head. Monkey brain, “out!” Constantly listening and adjusting, I listen to a straining muscle and ease up. I must give my body the same respect as I give my nutrition and hereby comes the Soul Cleaning. Beth wants us to listen to our Spirit! Move away from the clutter and noise and listen to the still small voice that says, “gently, silently, lovingly. It’s life.” Beth asks us to be aware of the genial love of our Father. We open our hands to receive Grace, and we lift our hearts up. Oh how far we can go! Gratitude. The release of anger. Peace. Find your Beth and listen to her. She might be an angel in disguise! God bless you.

It’s Time!

June 4th, 2021

The Church is in Ordinary time, which is like summer, when nothing happens. We have celebrated the Annunciation and the Visitation and … We have celebrated Christmas, Lent and Easter, the Resurrection and the Coming of the Holy Spirit. Now we settle into a “teaching time.” A time to listen and to think about what God wants. And I will take this time to “get back into shape” with yoga, and to “oh my goodness” try to make a difference with my own personal hoarding. Yes, I said hoarding. My hoarding is the piles of pages I’ve torn out of magazines and newspapers, saying, “Must read this book, must read this poem, must paint this picture.” Yesterday I wrote down the DVD I found at my library, and today I will pick the DVD up at the library and throw away the piece of paper that says, “See this.” There is a wonderful book I clipped to read that I will order on Amazon. This is a “do it or throw it away” time. This energy is fueled by a nightmare I have occasionally. I’m leaving school on the last day, never to teach again, or I’m leaving work, never to go there again, and I have boxes and boxes of papers to take home. You see, I stash my clippings everywhere I go…. So then, the nightmare continues, there I go, burdened with paper, no ride home, so I must trek to the bus stop with all that stuff. Needless to say, my cell phone is at the bottom of it all, I fish out coins for the bus, but get lost. I wander around in a downtown area, gradually leaving boxes behind. Chuck said he had a dream, he and Dave were looking for a lost trooper. I said, “I saw you way far away but you didn’t see me.” I usually wake up, exhausted, on the corner of who knows where and who knows where… I showered, jumped into my Yoga clothes, grabbed coffee, washed last night’s dishes and settled in to get busy. Ditch this paper!!! What’s your hoarding? Love you! God bless us.

Love and art

May 26th, 2021

Heat isn’t going to go away, so i can’t use that as an excuse! So, I must go out into the garden and work a little even if for 1/2 hour a day. I have a butterfly garden that has nicely reseeded itself, but it needs the old dead stuff pulled out. I have beautiful fruit trees that need the weeds under them pulled. Mother nature needs tending or she tends to “go to the jungle”!!! Just like a tired house or living room, or basebaords need new paint, so mother nature needs stroking! People need help too.

Just as I must work despite the heat, I must speak out the truth! “But what is the truth?” Pilate asked. We have thought about this before and we are to continually research it! When do we know something is a scam or a fraud? Should we pray over major decisions or any decision if it feels funny? God said he wouldn’t let us fail, so trust the gut! Hitler said, “Truth is relative,” but we know different. The truth is, people are children of God. All of them. To be taken care of by those of us who did better in life. Christ doesn’t want us to stoop to the culture we live in…. believing that some are less worthy than others. Soon we will be taking in Afganis who helped the US troops for up to 20 years while we fought over in the near east. How will we treat these “different” people? They helped us. Now, because God said he has prepared a place for me, I must prepare a place for my brother. Let’s make a plan to be kind and giving. We are “on our honor” to be kind because “the others” are children of God too. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times, and three times after Peter answers “Yes,” Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.” God bless us. God help us to “do the right thing.” Angels encamp around us.

Pentecost Sunday: Holy Spirit Day

May 23rd, 2021

If only we could know whether our “crazy ideas” are any good! and that is what I’m wondering as a friend told me if I’m too political, no one will listen. In the weeks of Easter we have been reading from the Gospel of John and, reading as if I am there listening, I have been inspired by how many times Jesus told me (us) he loves us. When he says, “”Remain in me. Follow me. Do what I teach. What is the law?” I answer him, “love you God with my whole heart and mind, and love my neighbor.” “Who is your neighbor?” he asks. “It is the Samaritan lying in the road; the one I have been taught, or I just feel, is my enemy, but I must help him; so say you Lord,” I answer. “Is your neighbor a small child who might be a handful of trouble?” he asks. “Yes Lord,” I answer. “You know the law,” he gently whispers, “Act on the law. That is all you need.” I stand in awe before my God. The Word is in my hand (Bible), and in my heart, where Jesus and the Holy Spirit reside.

Starting soon, the news will be full of the arguments in the Supreme Court which are to begin in October. People of all races, sex, and ages will be arguing about the law which Jesus God spoke. It involves kiling a child. The tiny one might only just have a heartbeat, but its a human heartbeat. The argument is, “can I kill him or her?” The tiny one is not an “it” because that is a human heartbeat. What has come into my mind on this day of Pentecost when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), is that this shouldn’t be in the country’s law courts. Isn’t it the law of God whether we kill or not? Isn’t it dependent on what is in my heart? Oh pray my dear friends that we realize the answer to this vital issue. God bless us as we drop making and obeying human law and we begin to “follow him”. Angels with us.

Saving ourselves

May 11th, 2021

My dears. I couldn’t think of anything to say after typing the title yesterday so I closed the computer. I mumble around and and bemoan the fact that I’m not inspired, I’m lazy, I want ice cream and wine… I want Covid to be over, but if we don’t get vaccinated as a nation, Covid isn’t going to go away like measles, mumps, chicken pocks, pneumonia, leprosy went away with vaccines. The director of CDC asks us to get vaccinated. Dr Fauci asks us to get vaccinated and wear masks. Can we, tough, stubborn, Americans save ourselves? Chuck and I are both vaccinated and we wear masks inside buildings. We have been isolated.

For me, another way to save myself is to take hold of my tummy roll that wasn’t there 2 years ago. I stepped on the scale at the Doctor’s office and I was horrified. I “never” weighed that much!!! Oh boy; Save myself. Jesus is taking care of my soul, but it is up to me to take care of my tummy. So I went on the web, and looked at pools in the backyard which Chuck doesn’t want to do. Expensive to build and then you have to maintain it. OH. Maintain is not in our vocabulary!!! So after going through many web sites, I said, “We have Yoga in Lake Placid.” Indeed! I then went to my local Bealls Outlet store and bought new yoga clothes (in a larger size than I used 10 years ago). This morning I suited up in my new yoga pants and top. I also took cover up clothes if there was no yoga and I went to church instead. The yoga place is at Main street and Dal Hall, right at the market near town center, on the way to Publix and … it takes 10 minutes to get there!!! There were 10 ladies and a really great instructor. Ahhhhh! Yoga breathing! OH! my right knee was very unhappy when I went into “child’s pose!” which involves kneeling down which I haven’t been able to do lately. Breathe! Relax! Ease off! OH! The right knee continued to complain until I got off it and moved to my back and lifted my legs to stretch. Then the hamstring gets into the game!!! Whew! Both hams refused my stretching efforts, and started to cramp! Breathe!!! Relax!!! Breathe!!! Isn’t that what life is like? We don’t necessarily want to do what is good for us. Or someone tells us to do something, and we don’t want to do it. So we struggle without help. For me, yoga is great help. I was thinner in yoga class on Big Pine Key 10 years ago and I sang and danced as my tummy got smaller. This time it will be a little tougher as I have developed bad habits of wine and ice cream. If you come to visit, bring yoga clothes. Everyone can do a little! I’ll be the one singing and dancing!!! Love you my gentle reader! God bless us.

Pray

May 3rd, 2021

Pray for the people in India. Less that 2 percent of Indians are vaccinated. That is astounding but their government hasn’t responded and they are a poor country. We are shipping airplanes full of oxygen to India. Pray for them.

Yesterday and Today the readings at church are so beautifully supportive. If anyone wonders how to act, or what to believe, all we have to do is read the words of Jesus or his brilliant disciples John and Paul. Jesus said, “Remain in me” 8 times in the story of the Vine, “I am the vine, you are the branches…” (John 15). Like fertilizer and water, the word of Jesus is given life in us, and we give fruit to good works if we hang on. Saul breathed hate, but Jesus took him on as a late born disciple. Imagine Jesus says to us, “I’ve been waiting for you Saul.” Put your name in place of Saul’s.

Today I discussed politics with my nurse at the opthamologist’s office. She is a gentle woman who was preparing me for a second excision of a lesion on my eyelid. Somehow we got talking about “If you don’t like it, you have a vote in 4 years.” She said, “I like that!” I often speak out on complainers who bust the government in the face. I’m begging for people to take in the words of Jesus…. Remain in the gentle arms and on the chest of our God. He forgives. He brings peace. Lean back and rest. God bless us.

Everyone has a story

April 30th, 2021

While visiting my friend Karla, I read an article about Mother Rivers who lives at over 101 years of age on Hilton Head Island! She is a respected elder who credits her longevity to her life principles: “It’s important,” Mother shared, “It’s important to make sure you give your body a rest. God can’t work on your body if you don’t allow yourself to rest. Remember to give one day to the Lord. Always think about other people and share what you have. Remember to treat people like you want to be treated. And always do the right thing the best way that you know how.” In 2019, Mother Rivers celebrated her 100th birthday while ruminating, “I feel good… I must have done some good somewhere down the line. I just put all of my trust in the Lord.”

Looks like we won’t get too much from the infrastructure bill. The President offered a rousing speech on using government money to raise up families, repair bridges and rehab water systems among other declining systems in America, but the “opposition” in a sense offered the advice that nothing is really wrong and we aren’t going to spend money on it. So pray we don’t crumble. We have heard that the rich get richer and the rest of us are OK. I wonder what the people living in slums think about that. Go to the part of town none of us go safely into at night. Look at their poor stores, neighborhoods, and homes. Thank God for mothers and families who forced us to pursue education and good jobs. Try to live as Mother Rivers advised: “Always think about other people and share what you have. Remember to treat people like you want to be treated. And always do the right thing the best way that you know how.” God bless us. Angels with us.

A still small voice

April 26th, 2021

In Karla’s garden: Shades of green and yellow in a large ginger bush interrupted by a touch of red geranium coming up in the ginger’s midst. A blue green frog sitting with his back against a pine tree trunk. He’s thinking deep thoughts! A large white egrit across the lagoon pecks at the pine straw. A bright red cardinal with red beak joins a small brown bird at the bird feeder, woops, 2 small brown birds at the bird feeder. They all peck at the seed and then, swoop! they move on. South Carolina blue sky with a margin of pine tree tops overhead and I am reminded of the osprey love making we witnessed at the top of one of those pine trees! St Francis stands quietly praying in the corner in a patch of sunlight. Life feels good here in Karla’s garden. We have spoken of the past hurts and not so long ago nightmares we encountered while we drink wine at this little garden table. We have spoken of hurts that could have taken us down, but strong, praying, resilient, we emerged to celebrate life with Vivaldi playing on the little cylinder called Alexa. “We got this,” is our chant. If you don’t have a space like this, try to set out a table with a few comfy chairs, a bird feeder (they will come!), and wind chimes. At the market in Lake Placid you can get wind chimes made of forks! Listen! Hear it? A still small whisper, “My peace I leave with you! My peace I give you.” God bless us. Angels with us.

Retreat is good!

April 24th, 2021

I am visiting my friend I went to Barry college with. We were both English majors and she wanted to be a journalist but became an English teacher. I went on to take Masters in English and became an English teacher. Poetry never leaves my mind and I think that is why I lean toward the gentle and the beautiful. Keats wrote, “Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty.” I always stop and smell flowers, gaze at clouds, and I mourne the loss of life and gentleness. Here on retreat, Karla plays classical music, Vivaldi just finished… I woke up with a poem in my mind. Something about Lara, Jupiter “overshadowing her” and written by Keats. This was stimulated by, while on our 4pm walk, we witnessed 2 osprey “doing it” amidst a great clashing of wings and wild cries in a tall pine while we watched from below. We finally left them to their love making, and we walked on. But in my dreams, the poem came. Now to find it!

I woke up at 820am to find Karla having already walked for an hour, at her computer. So I poured a cup of coffee and settled in at my computer to find the poem. She remembered it… but neither of us could identify it. I scoured Keats and found Ode on a Grecian Urn and remembered Truth is Beauty… but couldn’t find “Lara and Jupiter.” I kept googling (what a marvelous search engine google is!) and it came up! “Leda and the Swan” by WB Yeats. My brain was close with Lara, Jupiter, and Keats! Leda was a young girl who was violently raped by Zeus who left her after impregnating her, dropping her from his “indifferent beak.” Her child, Helen (of Troy), sparked the Trojan War and “Agamemnon dead.” We then traveled in memory to another Yeats poem of similar dramatic quality called “The Second Coming.” It is also about the violent stimulous of war as “what rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.” I offer these two poems to you to read. They are easily found courtesy of google. Both poems predict our loss of innocence and gentility… Our loss of Christ in many hearts.

As Karla and I talk and come upon one seemingly hopeless situation after another, all we can do, we say, is pray. My sister Sarah said the same, “Susie, what can I do except keep my own balance and try to walk straight.” I agree. God bless us as we pray for our own balance.

Music that soothes the soul

April 23rd, 2021

Oboe concerto by Brahams, Pachelbel’s concerto, and many others soothe and stimulate in the same way. I listen to Music Choice all day (country music; and I sing along) but today I am visiting friend Karla who now lives in Hilton Head. I can’t sing along to piano and oboe and maybe that is more soothing. It’s possible that a country song that I sing along to keeps my practical brain awake…. There’s lots of “stories” in country music, and I wonder if the story part of our brain is different from the “just beautiful” part of our brain? I’m not sure, but I think I will research that. I intuitively think that music without words often causes us to relax. Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Somehow this led me to quote a line from a poem that I love “I wandered through fields of golden daffodils.” When we remembered the poem was by William Wordsworth (Karla remembered it was Wordsworth) I went and looked it up. Turns out it is really, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” In reading the poem we discovered “Fields of Golden Daffodils” is a lovely image for me.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I have always loved daffodils. My mother called them Jonquils. What soothes us can often be as simple as that!

What is soothing to us? We need to know this in a world growing more chaotic every day. Karla repeated something that my sister Sarah and niece Erin said to me. When the President came on TV on the night the Chauvin jury was sequestered he was soothing… He is sincere, humble, and grandfatherly. We can tell “the President” our fears and troubles, and I get the feeling he will not put me off. I have been praying a lot for “our world.” Having faith that we are in God’s hands, but “it” still gets under our skin and irritates. “It” might be, people in our world getting killed by violence and by Covid. I received 2 emails today to pray for our church family members dying of Covid. “It” might be Financials, it’s tax season, and the Cable bill needs to be paid! It’s medical worries: “should I fix my teeth, my toes, or my…. ” you name it. It costs money. So… Lets give the worries a nod and then head out if possible (I don’t know if my sister visiting Idaho can get out yet!), but get out and find the clouds, flowers, breezes. Get to the water if you can! These are the beauties of our earth. Absolute beauties: things that never change because man’s hand cannot stop life from growing. Love, honor, justice, faith, never changing, always present. Ah! Present! In Luke 24:35, two disciples who saw the Resurrected Jesus on the way to Emmaus told how he “made himself known”. At that point that they believed the Lord Jesus is Present; they chose to believe he is with them, they relaxed and became fruitful. “Look! Touch! See!” says the Lord as he directs discussion to himself present in the world. As my sister Sarah said, ” Great photos of sunrise, make my brushes want to dance!” You go girls and boys! Let’s get those brushes and pens dancing. Angels with us!!!!

Canceled

April 14th, 2021

I asked my friend what should I do to “be heard? to make a difference?” He said “To make a difference we must speak up. The problem is when we speak up we may be ‘canceled.’” I have “lost” several friends in the past year because I refuse to listen to the hot and critical rhetoric used in this past year, so my friends I have lost think I cancel them. No, it’s the ugly unsubstantiated criticism, Words and Attitude I’m canceling. I also will not tolerate the use of invective by anyone, especially someone of some stature making a speech. So just this last weekend at a “retreat” a political someone we all know called another political someone we all know “a dumb son of a bitch.” Yep, I just sullied my blog. It gets worse: He still criticizes the ex-Vice President for not fighting the certification of electoral college results. (Remember when War raged inside the Capitol building January 6, 2021 and he talked about a rigged election rather than sending in the National Guard to save our Capitol from outrage and death?) About his remarks…. His supporters say, “If they were reported accurately,” the remarks might hurt Republicans. So we might all be misreporting and lying about him saying, “Fauci is ‘full of crap.’” Is he full of crap who is concerned about all of us lining up to end the pandemic and get shots? 6 people out of over 6 million got sick with blood clots that “might” have been caused by the vaccine. Fauci says “wear a mask; get vaccinated.” I have been maligned at least twice by asking people to social distance… They reply, “It’s not ordered here in Florida” (Thank you Governor…) … I didn’t say it, “You need a law to protect yourself and others?” After you finish washing this blog out with soap, please read on!

Remember when we used to ask: “What would Jesus do?” Jesus realized how weak we are so he kept coming back after the Resurrection and showing his hurt hands and side. “Here, put your hand in the hole in my side,” he said to Thomas. “Here, eat some bread with me.” He finally said he had to go to the Father, and St John wrote: “that which we have seen and touched… Word of Life made manifest… we proclaim to you.” Yet, we don’t grasp the moment of Grace we are offered. Do I whisper “Lord, I trust in you” or do I mouth ugliness and bad news. The Nation is crumbling and maybe we deserve it. We who don’t seek the good news need to step back and say, “What can I do?” My friend wants me to criticize Biden for “allowing” the surge at the border and I say, “It’s been surging for years.” Nope, it’s Biden’s fault” Life in filthy mud is awful and life in the United States looks a lot better. Chuck and I have taken “tours” through many foreign islands and i have been sad at the dirt and mud. Our streets are paved, and we have sidewalks and toilets. Many don’t. Many do not have running water. Yet they have their babies and mix powdered milk with water from a dirty looking bucket they carried from a spigot. Is there anything we can do for our brothers rather than just build walls? We can put up obstacles to keep people out, and we can shutter up to keep the dirt and hunger out, or we can give from our bounty. We sit in silence. Oh wait, no we don’t. We yell at our leaders and we block any efforts to rebuild our own broken country. Are we waiting for more riots? Are we waiting for a big overcrowded crumbling bridge to collapse? Grace abounds in this Easter Season, yet we act like dirty children hugging our toys and not letting the poor children play. Consider the never changing Absolutes of Love, Honor, Justice, Faith, Truth. In John 18:37, Why do you think Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” Because Jesus knew we wouldn’t listen, but Grace will help us listen. Listen to Luke 24: 13 ff: “Did not your heart burn within you when you heard the Word spoken?” What was that Word? “Blessed are the Merciful… Blessed are the Peacemakers… Be salt and Light.” Read Matthew 5 and Listen… What we can do is there. It’s in a gentle whisper. Can you hear it? God bless us. God be with us.

A gentle gift

March 30th, 2021

Monday of Holy Week is a gentle look at the final days of Jesus when he entered Jerusalem, knowing he would be killed there that week, and still he entered, preached, and healed. Isaiah describes the coming of God’s son in Isaiah 42: “Here is my Servant upon whom I put my spirit.” He will not cry out; he will not break bruised reeds. He will teach love. He will make the blind see. He will heal the sick, and he will bring out prisoners from confinement to the light.

When Isaiah wrote these words, the Jewish people were in confinement in Babylon. Exile. Lost. But God promised a gentle servant, not a fighter. Not a king. Not a rich man. Gently, quietly he will unmask us. He eats with sinners. He raises the dead to glory. He is beloved of the Father. He does point to the Law. He teaches the Absolutes of Love, Faith, Truth. He is pure heart. We are invited this week to get close to his gentle heart and listen. He sings and prays for us. God bless us! Angels with us.

The end of Lent

March 28th, 2021

Many Christians celebrated Lent from Ash Wednesday (5 weeks ago) to today… Palm Sunday! Actually Lent won’t end until Wednesday so we have 3 more days to “repent.” During Lent Christians think about the role Jesus had and has in our lives. We are like the Jewish people wandering in the desert. Hungry and thirsty. Cursing our “lot” in the hot sands. We are asking God to make things better or get away and give us “the good old days.” We are looking back and condeming the present. We are verbalizing out our frustrations and our hatreds. I wonder how the people in the Ark felt with all that stink and noise. “Lord, let me out; I can do better out side of this place you put me in. I can do better on my own.” Yesterday I raised my voice at a friend who was saying stuff I call conspiracy. Instead of accepting our current world, she and her friend were complaining and wishing we had old leadership or just not this leadership. Get over it!!! Make today better! This is a time of taking responsibility. A time to love and listen to the Lord. What does he want? He wanted Mary to totally give herself up, maybe to face stoning for carrying a child when she wasn’t yet living with her bethrothed husband. She was an adulteress in the eyes of her people. But she “got on with it.” An unwed pregnant woman was stoned back then. Nobody wanted to hear her story. Nobody wanted to accept that maybe she could do good things for us…. It’s a far comparison I make but the reason I raised my voice at my friend was “get over it.” It (politics, the election) happened, now just live this life and do what good you can. Then get out and vote. Go to God and ask what we should do… Climb into the arms of an unwed mother who carries a child. Stay in this Ark, near Mary’s heart. Ask Mary to lift us up, even to the Cross where we will see her standing on Friday. Ask Mary to lift us up to the true harbor, God’s arms. Ask God: “Be merciful O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps 51) Be quiet. Quit complaining. Quit gossipping with “Conservatives or liberals”. Just be quiet and listen to the heartbeat of God. Take the steps this week to be quiet in front of the Cross this coming Friday.

Thank God I’m not sick! I had 2nd Covid vaccine on Friday morning. I took Aleve after shot and that night before bed. I feel fine. Maybe a little tired, but it’s hard to separate that from being out of shape! I’m beginning to paint that closet that Chuck and I cleared out and he built 2 shelves that need painting. That wore me out! Ick it’s hot here already! Chuck and I visited the Market yesterday and listened to music and watched butterflies. All seems to be well! God bless us! Angels with us!

Plotting the demise of…. stuff

March 22nd, 2021

Good morning dear readers! Two topics this morning, but both wrapped up under the name of working with love…. We have a great big hallway closet that could be a baby bedroom or a third bathroom. Instead it is filled to the brim with stuff that I literally stuffed into it when we moved to Lake Placid… Everyone has a closet, room or at least a drawer full of stuff that you would like to dump into the trash…. It’s been there so long that you aren’t sure who or what might also be living in there under it all… OH! But we have to go through it because there are photos that we used to have on our walls (when we had more wall space), and things we bought as gifts, 5 or more years ago. That stuff is meticulously being taken out of the closet as we speak by my dear Chuck, and he is stacking it in the dining room. In the old days, this activity would have had a short shelf life as we entertained on that table, a lot. But now, I can walk by the pile and avert my eyes. Pretend it isn’t there…. Ah! Pretending it isn’t there is as easy as pretending what is happening at our southern border isn’t affecting me.

In the old days when the Jewish people were sitting in Babylon, they only had memory. They used to tell stories of God who has compassion and loves us. One of the stories is the Book of Daniel. This is a great story. As children I am sure we read about Daniel helping the lion who later on didn’t eat Daniel. We read about Daniel’s 3 friends with those wildly different names Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego; names we loved to repeat! They were put into a burning furnace because they wouldn’t bow to false gods. They persisted in their faith in the One God of Israel. Please read Daniel! In the story of Susanna (chapter 13) who was falsely accused of committing adultery by 2 lusty old bad guys, Daniel saved Susanna with cogent argument. He was willing to stand up before Jews who were willing to condemn Susanna because “elders” accused her. Daniel stood up because he was filled by the Holy Spirit with courage and strength. Much later on in time, Jesus will stand up also and have enough compassion for a condemned woman to face the crowd who already have stones in their hands. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:1). The people wanted to condemn Jesus for breaking the Law. An adulteress must be stoned. But compassion rules. The men guiltily shrink back and slink home. The message in this is when we love, when we have compassion, we are stronger. Someone commented about the crisis at the border that Congresspeople come to the border and see the crowds and feel sorry, but then go back to Washington and continue to fight and call names. Divided by politics, we fight bitterly and the condemned languish on concrete floors at the border. What are we afraid of? Attack the problem with love!!! Work together in Love as God wants us to do. Do we not believe in God? If we don’t then we are finished. Is it love when we criticize and call names? Is it love when we hate each other in the name of politics? Is it love when we refuse to work on the problem that drove the people lying on the concrete ground at our border from their homes in the south? Let us work together in love. Dredge that love up from the bottoms of our hearts to solve problems. Let us read the “stories” in Daniel and let us grasp the incredible faith the men in the oven had in a very strong God. Grasp God’s offered hand and get up. Get to work in Love. God bless us! Angels with us.

First Day of Spring!

March 20th, 2021

YEP! Except for the snow storms raging in the NW, it’s spring. So, quite to my dismay, spring cleaning has begun. It all started with me squeeling, at a relaxing Chuck, “Can’t you SEE the dirt on your bathroom rugs?” (He owns the guest room bath and I do my best to own the master bath!) Well no, he couldn’t see it…. He’s been complaining about the looks of the storage closet off the living room/bath area that, if you open the door, you better step back. So, I made a list… Either clean the guest bath, floor and toilet, or start emptying the storage closet. So, what does he do? He goes into the dresser drawers in the guest room where I’ve stuffed all the jeans and sweatshirts that don’t fit. I’ll go ahead and blame my bigger belly on a year of Covid depression. I have friends who lost weight, so what’s my excuse besides wine and ice cream?

So there he was in the drawers in the guest room and I was scrubbing the toilet and floor of a really small bathroom (about 4×8 in size). That’s all done and I look at that closet. He is removing blankets that I have thrown into big black garbage bags and stuffed into the closet. He is taking the blankets to a secure place. Do you remember the year when everybody got or gave 3 of those snuggy blankets that you can put your arms through? I’m saying got or gave 3 because I have 3 of them. I have beautiful hand made quilts displayed in the living room (my sister made them) and 1 on our sleeping bed. We have afgans, and about a million “throws.” Pillows, millions. sheets, towels. Here we are paying the price of downsizing to a smaller house. What I “should have done” is throw everything away in Miami and buy 2 of everything in Lake Placid. New. Never mind how many bottles of mouth wash, alcohol, body and bath wash, baby powder and hydrogen peroxide are stacked on the dining room table from that giant closet… (I have a story about hydrogen peroxide) let me digress to the day Chuck and Mike were working on our roof in the back of the lake house and I was digging in a garden in the front yard. Mike came running to find me yelling, “You get towels and I’ll get the hydrogen peroxide!!!.” I hurried out back and there was Chuck bleeding mightily from an ear wound. Mike and he lost control of a very long board (a 10×12) and it dropped, taking a part of Chuck’s ear with it. Chuck was bending over so the blood would go in the grass and not on his shirt. Some of you know, “a job isn’t done until Chuck bleeds.” (50 years of this people…. Chuck and I had our 50th wedding anniversary during the Covid year.) We got fun!

So anyhow that accounts for the 5 (yes, count them) bottles of hydrogen peroxide I have. Where was I? I finished about 2 shelves before I threw myself in a chair and grabbed the computer to write to my spring cleaning friends. In Lake Placid, spring comes with wind. We get the “tail ends” of the storms that sweep through Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and up and out on the upper east coast. Well darlings… time to get back to work. Wait until he gets to all the art work and photos stacked in that closet. I didn’t do myself a favor when I stacked it all in the closet. Keep safe. Get your shots (I get second shot at end of March then Chuck goes.) God bless you. Angels with you.

verbal hate?

March 19th, 2021

Hi my dears. Today the church celebrates Saint Joseph, the earthly father and protector of Jesus. He married Mary even though she was pregnant even though Jewish law said to put her out into the streets and even to Stone her for adultery. No! He accepted fatherhood of the child of God. Thank God.

Speaking of children of God, I want to speak to the dead Asians in Georgia. I just heard a congressman said it isn’t a hate crime, that Words used against Asians do not matter. What Trump said about Kung flu and Aisian virus and other Trump rhetoric was not affecting us, and I say it has. He opened up our mouths with his hateful rhetoric and allowed us to speak as he does. Thank God the news agencies are not reshowing him speaking to “prove” what he said. He criticized and taunted and “teased”. Maybe I am sensitive because my father was a “teaser.” I was quick to tell my husband and some friends early on that teasing hurts. I am hurt when teased because I believe what comes out of our mouths is our truth. Please this day pledge to “police” your tongue. God bless us. Angels with us.

spouting

March 17th, 2021

There are many types of spouting. It means to expel or gush. I often refer to God’s Grace as pouring out, but there is also the negative spouting out of our mouths that hurts. So there’s good spouting and not so good spouting! I get crazy sometimes when I get into arguments with friends, and I spout my “Stop criticizing, and wait for 3 1/2 years and then VOTE!” Spouting… It’s pouring out our anger and our desires!!!! You have heard a small child screaming “I want,” so: Let’s all spout, to God. In prayer. I recently took a lump just below my eyebrow to my opthalomologist and he said it needed to come off. We must take our lumps and bumps to doctors. If we want them off we have a right to get them off! So he numbed it with two shots and started “snipping” I could hear the snipping…. snip snip… clip clip… I was supposed to hold on to two balls, but instead I held onto the sides of my thighs. and I prayed. … I spouted to God and Mary…. “Hail Mary… Help me and help my friends.” I prayed for friends and family. Just over and over. Even mentioning their names is good. 45 minutes worth of praying kept me sane! I did not think about what is happening now. I think that’s the best way. So let’s take this to the streets: My friend and I go back and forth … she is extreme right and I hope that I am mid moderate. I just ask for black and white to both be discussed and maybe a gray area be found. The news agencies cover the news, but if we look closely we will see Steve Bannon and Trump right behind the scenes in some cases and we need then to be careful if we are spouting because we are with our president for 3 1/2 years and it doesn’t do any good to shout negatives. Enough! Get along! Find solutions. God bless us. Angels with us!!!!!

Trust

March 12th, 2021

Trust is Belief in the reliability, truth, strength or ability of someone, in what they say…. So can I trust? The President has given 2 speeches today and yesterday about government helping Americans recover from Covid problems…. He carries the number of Americans who have died, (527,726) from Covid, in his pocket. He says he carries the American people close to his heart. He does not name call. He doesn’t call it China virus, he doesn’t criticize those who don’t support him. He seems to care. So. Do I trust him? That is what each of us has to ask. I’ve heard some say the 527,726 number of dead is skewed for greed and miscount reasons. Maybe it is skewed. Maybe it’s only 500,000. That is 1/2 million and rising until we get vaccinated enough that the virus doesn’t have anywhere to land and grow… Biden wants us to get vaccinated and wear masks. Many call that ridiculous and they don’t want their freedoms stamped on. I wish there were a way to get over this but wishing won’t do it will it?

In his 2 speeches today and yesterday, the President did not call for prayer. Not prayer that we will heal, not prayer that we will live. He said, “the way we will get our lives back is to beat the virus…” and i said to the TV image, “No, it’s to pray.” To thank God for the miracle of the vaccine. To thank God the numbers are going down.

Let us all contribute to the joy of each other. God wants to heal us. He said so in Scripture. He whispers it in our hearts. “Come to me… I will fill you with gifts of finest wheat and with honey from the rock.” (Psalm 81) Stop and let the honied love of God pour out on you. God loves us without measure. He just pours it out. God bless us.

We choose

March 11th, 2021

My friends and I have had some good debates. We seem to be able to talk better now that the election and inauguration are over, but we are still not on the same page. Maybe some of us are not even in the same book… i am still professing “Get safe (Vaccination); stay safe (mask)”. I don’t tell anyone to get vaccinated, I just say that I got online and sent an email and waited for the emailed appointment. I did not go torture myself by attempting to access a computer registration system, or worse yet, stand in line for a shot. I prayed a lot for help because I seemed to be doing nothing!!! “I’m waiting… I’m on a list,” I told my friends. And indeed, now I’m on another list, for the 2nd vaccine. Today I got into a debate about staying safe and how we act moving forward. I agree with my friend who says it’s OK to go to church. I tell her that I am glad the church is open and opening more. I’m very glad about that. As soon as I am fully vaccinated and my dear Chuck is fully vaccinated, I will return. Wearing a mask. To people who sneer and ask, “Is Fauci any good?” “Yes,” I reply. I’m following Fauci and the CDC and im not calling any of them stupid. Fauci survived helping us to survive AIDS, Ebola and SARs. He has spent his life trying to protect us and we (many of us) have just done what we darned well pleased. Even casting aspersions on Fauci. He is the media picture that stands in front of a big team… 1500 Americans are dying per day from Covid, and many doctors are asking that we get vaccinated and wear masks. Many doctors have contributed to what we should we do.

We are a free country and therefore many Governors and Mayors have stepped into the mix too. Texas, South Dakota, and Florida (among others) refuse to (enforce) mask wearing. My answer: “I pray that our leaders can do good things.” The world has changed so fast that we are being asked to embrace issues we never would have when we were younger. People tell me they are conservative and I’m liberal. I say…. “Don’t label me!” So the “fight goes on!!!!” We refuse to agree on much and I pray to God we don’t remain split to the detriment of our civilization here in the United States. (UH… emphasis on United…)

Take care dear gentle reader. Pray for others and ask others to pray for you. I pray to Jesus and our Holy Mother of God, Mary for blessings and their prayer. In Luke 22: 31-32, Jesus prays a gentle prayer for us…. Jesus says he prays for us… Thank you Jesus!!!!

Today

February 27th, 2021

Good morning! The readings today are filled with the word “Today.” Especially critical are Moses and Jesus exhorting that “Today” is the time… Today, listen to God who gives decrees… (When we were little did we think God was the Great Rule Giver”?) Honor, Give thanks, Give praise… Do good things. Well… Moses writes: “Hearken to the Lord … and you will be a people sacred to the Lord.” (Deut 26:16). Jesus says, “Love those” … who seem unworthy to me… Love as God does. Be holy. Oh dear. I am guilty of seeing for example the convention taking place in Orlando Florida, CPAC. I listened to a few speakers and I immediately felt abhorence at the jokes about things that happened like Texas freezing with water ruining homes, the election fraud, and other things. What we should be focusing on is healing the nation, vaccinations and feeding the hungry. Focus! …. and so I fume. Oh dear. What does Jesus say? “Be salt and light. Pray for those who persecute and hurt. Have great love. Do good. Be like the sun and shine out.” If I focus on those I resent for their words and behavior then I am not focusing on what Jesus said (see Matthew 5). I will be filled instead with anger. A priest once said this to me, “Pray for those you don’t like. Pray for those you have “feelings” against. Then you will be filled with prayer.” Then I will be filled with blessings! Take the action of love. Shine out and warm souls… Keep praying and ignore the naughty thoughts within. Ignore the reaction and the anger. Keep Praying. The essence of holiness is loving God. Think about God and his blessings pouring out on us.

Today I will enter the ranks of the vaccinated. I’m a little concerned about a 4pm appointment. Will the vaccine be spoiled if it’s left out until 4pm? Will there be great crowds.? Will the shot giver be exhausted? See how my brain goes to the negative? Oh dear. Surround me with angels dear Lord. Let us go smiling into the breach. Of course they can’t see me smiling as I will have a mask on. Oh well, I’ll wear a smart red Caribbean shirt. God bless us!!! Angels with us. Pray for Peace.

Only?

February 25th, 2021

“Only” is an interesting word. It means “Single, solitary, nothing more.” When we speak or think, if we say “only,” “Only” is highly separative, highly dividing. Yesterday as I flipped through the channels I landed on a blurp from a town hall wherein the President remarked that “certain people” don’t know how to access the Covid systems to sign up for a shot. He named the certain people by ethnicity and color. This is separative. I haven’t been able to access the Covid system yet. A friend said, “You have to get on at 7am on Friday, if you don’t, they will be full and you have to wait.” I should be singled out because I am old, having trouble, because I am not pushy! But, I can isolate for a little while; let’s help those who are hungry… they are white and black, they are Italian, Irish, African, Mexican. They are hungry because they have lost jobs in restaurants, bars, and places that serve large groups of people that are still closed or doing “only take out.” Food banks are trying to find the hungry especially the children. Parents aren’t to blame. They are standing in line.

Yesterday the priest read about Jonah who went through the streets of Ninevah exhorting the people to pray to God for intercession and today we read from the Book of Esther. Tonight, Purim begins for our older brothers, the Jews. Esther was a beautiful Jewish slave and harem woman who was selected by the King for her beauty to be his queen, but she could not approach him and speak to him, or she would be killed. Esther heard of a plot to kill the Jewish people and she prayed to God to help her. Small me, Big You God, help my people. Psalm 138 reads, ” Lord on the day I called for help, you answered me.” Jesus said, “ask and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7-12). Well, what should we do with all this knowledge about Jonah and Esther?

While we are looking for the Light; trying to be light, why not consider the readings I mentioned above. Look at the way Esther humbled herself and asked her companions to pray with her. Look at the Psalmist praising God. Pray for what we need and expect, maybe we won’t realize, but, pray to accept that we get what we need. I realized today that the vaccine is a great miracle. One year after the pandemic “started”, We are dispensing vaccine to everyone in the US. It will take a while as there are 320 million of us, and we need 2 doses each. I have often asked you to do the math. Thats 720 million and that is only the US. Then yesterday the WHO announced that we have agreed to help get the vaccine to Africa where in many places it has not been dispensed at all. Many people have argued against supporting the WHO and giving money outside the US when we need help inside the US so desperately, but if the world is not vaccinated, we won’t get hold on this virus. It will just continue to spread. If you don’t think that way, please pray for guidance. Me too. I am praying constantly for guidance.

Consider that God answers our prayer out of mercy! God does not look at our merits; he loves us, and through the merits of Jesus, God pours out Grace. I can’t understand what makes a vaccine, and I haven’t stood up in the marketplace and made speeches! I feel that I am just a small person and all I can do is pray: (”Thank you God for the vaccine; thank you for flowers and butterflies. And while I’m at it God, I need help making change. I need to stop judging; stop arguing. I pray for my change.”) Satan doesn’t like that when we ask for help from God. Satan likes us to be in trouble! He gets tired of our prayer! Job asked God, “What is man that you should care for him?” God is here, and He cares for us. He desires conversation with us. Tell God what makes you sad. Tell God what makes you happy. Go sit on the door opening to the Ark; Noah will let you sit there. Watch Noah work. He’s praying he can save some people. Pray for friends and family. Tell God what you need for friends and family. We won’t change them, but we can ask God to do the work! God bless us. Angels with us.

Why not be Light?

February 23rd, 2021

It’s starting! 3 prominent Florida Republians participated in a “runoff” election for President. Oh dear. As I freely advised 6 months ago, “You have a vote.” Go for it. We all better get busy and start talking, but… Let us think for a moment about a small child named Manuel Fodera. Born June 21, 2001, the small boy developed a neuroblastoma that finally killed him on July 20, 2010. Throughout a horrible medical ordeal, the boy became quite docile as he prayed and spoke with his “friend” Jesus who, he said, resided in his heart. The boy was sure that Christ lived in his heart and that he himself had a mission to be a warrior of Light. He told his mother many things that a young child couldn’t possibly know that Jesus told him. In Isaiah 58, the prophet tells us, you will know it is a day acceptabe to the Lord when “your light breaks forward like the dawn.” Think of the small boy dying, but so joyful because he saw what is truly important, and it isn’t politics, it isn’t political gain or greed. It is light and helping people. Oh how I pray I can ignore all the fighting that is about to begin for it destroys my peace. Let us continue to help others, the poor, the single families, the children. Let us think only of how we can help. Let us think of how we can be light. God bless us. Angels with us.

Lenten journey continues

February 22nd, 2021

In my last writing I asked what does the ark Noah built have to do with Lent? One righteous man built a wooden boat and he invited us to join him. Climb aboard. It must have been pretty crowded and stinky! Aside from the noise and the stink, what else was in the Ark? A righteous man. He did what God asked. He loved. He worked obediently to serve others despite neighbors taunting him. Surely he was taunted for building the big boat in his yard! How many times he looked up, asking for guidance and strength. We don’t know. He just kept building. Called to love. Leaning on God. Hearing God’s voice. And that is the hard part.

How many of us know we have heard God’s voice? Right now my neighbor is making a lot of noise in his side yard and honestly all I hear is a saw and men talking… Out front, in my neighbor’s yard people are mowing and chopping… It’s noisy! Ah! where is God’s voice? I can’t hear it for all the distractions. I’ve heard that his voice is in my heart. In Deuteronomy (30:15) Moses prayed we would listen to God’s voice… “Heed his voice and hold fast to him”, but I can’t “hold fast” to him unless I am up against him. Leaning on his chest. I would lean, and he would catch me. Embraced, I could relax.

But I have walls and thorns I have built over the years. Bad things have happened. Many people have “left the church” because of stupid things “the church” has done. Many people have been hurt by priests and pastors. My church has recently, continuously, cleaned house and the latest is the leaving of office by a so called “Conservative Cardinal.” Oh yes. We all share the labels, Conservative, liberal…. We develop thorns that keep us from getting too close to what we reject. Lent is 40 days of journeying in the desert with no outside influence; just soul and God. God is trying to move us. Try to imagine a dance teacher or a yoga instructor adjusting our limbs. We are straining to pose and here comes someone who says, “Like this.” and they adjust our limbs. As you are adjusted by God, what do you feel? God bless us. Angels with us.

Learn from pain

February 18th, 2021

After the inauguration I felt hopeful and positive despite the Capitol invasion a short 2 weeks prior. Then the President ordered the rescinding of the Mexico City Policy (allowing taxpayer dollars to go into countries who might use it for abortion). Then we watched the trial of a President who was accused of ordering insurrection… “Who Won?” I wrote in my journal in big letters. Nobody is the answer. Nobody won and nobody was held accountable. There were, and still are, dark times. Troubled waters. Once more the slings and arrows were launched. Lawyers are able to say things that sound very believable… On both sides. So slings and arrows from all sides. I watched, because as I told Chuck, “This is history.” Knowing the result despite the way I feel can make the tummy hurt. More hurt. Being unvaccinated; I’m still isolated so talking these things through with people face to face is difficult. I’m on the county list for a vaccination, and I’m following the “rules.” Friends are getting vaccinated in other counties than their own so that is a good thing for them.

All through my silence I was writing in my journal though and I strongly recommend a journal! My friend says, “No one wants to read that …. ” … “what?” I ask, “No one wants to read stuff from your heart? stuff from your very intelligent brain? stuff from your pain?” Ah, pain! there it is. I accuse another friend of ignoring the fact that she is lying to herself and to me because she can’t bear the things she does to get her into trouble, so she says, “My debt and pain are my fate. There will be a miracle.” Oh there I go again, thinking I have the answer. What I do know is that we are not left in the pain. In the darkness. In the tomb. Jesus brought us up to be creative and to procreate. Build beautiful things. Write beautiful words. Make beautiful music. Serve God with good deeds done by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. We were made for eternal life; our Grace was restored in Baptism, and we are healed with Sacraments which are the healing touch of God. We are healed by Jesus, who, saying, “I will it,” reached out and touched a leper (Mark 1:40) healing the man who asked for healing. “If you wish it Lord!” I weakly whisper. “Of course I do!” answers our God. So, I asked myself in the past few weeks, “How do I get out of these troubled waters that are hurting me and drowning me?” Well the reading on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is good for all of us! In Mark 8:14-21, Jesus made a second miracle of loaves and fish… “Don’t you understand?” he asks? “Uh No,” I answer. At one point, God got so exasperated that people just didn’t get it, that he told Noah to build an ark. There is a wonderful church in Nowa Huta, Poland. The government built a Socialist city with no churches, but the people, inspired by Karol Wojtyla, (Pope John Paul II), built the church by hand like Noah did. It resembles the Ark. Why do we need that symbol? Because God found one righteous man and told him, if he works he can save civilization… One righteous man, on an Ark in the shape of a Cross saved us too and that is what Lent is all about. Stay in the Ark was the message to Noah, until I bring you safely outside again. So what does this have to do with Lent? God bless us!

If I could change one mind

January 24th, 2021

If I could change one mind it would mean that I helped someone to realize that Peace stands a chance when we stop fighting. It would mean we listen to respected people. It would mean we stop calling names, calling “fraud,” hurting reputations, rather we start helping others who need help. I watch Sunday Morning on CBS every Sunday morning. Generally I DVR it so I can FF through commercials and FF through things I’m not interested in. So today I watched the first unfettered interview of Anthony Fauci. I didn’t really have reason to “know” him before this last year. I saw video clips of him being tortured by AIDS protesters. Now he has been tortured in public by people who think he’s lying and they don’t want to wear masks. I knew he was listening to the President and realizing the truth wasn’t being said. Today he spoke unfettered and I felt relief. Can I change one person who still believes the lies of the past 4 years?

For some reason the Fauci interview this morning made me think, what if I could change one mind? It made me remember a time when I taught 11th grade in a very awful year that I realized early on I couldn’t teach these kids. They were out of control before I got there. I tried to go over exams with them before I gave the test. Anything to teach teach teach. Even going over tests with them before test day. So I did that. I asked questions from the test. Then I said, anyone have any questions? And a student came up to ask and I took him over to my desk for a little privacy. The students saw that I left the test out and they took advantage of that. I answered question after question while others read the questions and copied them (question 1 is B, question 2 is C etc). One student came up to me after class and told me what had happened. One student out of 30 told me the kids cheated. I changed the test. Just shifted the questions around, and indeed when I handed out the test one kid blurted out, “you changed it!” How stupid he was!!!! I was broken by that experience because I hoped for students who wanted to learn and grow. “If only I could change one.” That’s what I am. A teacher, a dreamer. As we walked her dog yesterday, I asked my friend, “give peace a chance.” I’m not sure she is willing to do that. This morning, I refuted some of her “facts” and protests with articles written into the news in google. I did not get an answer. Can we make changes? Can we find truth and peace? The 11th grade girl who told me the truth is one. I pray for the others. I pray for Peace in this world. We can do that! God bless us.