Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
May 23rd, 2017


I came across this article going through “old stuff” to throw out, published in 1968 in Our Sunday Visitor.  (Is that still around?)  Thought I would have already put it on my blog but apparently not.  Back then you had to go to a place with a copying machine in order to make copies.  I’m glad I did.


The fact of suffering is inescapable. We have but to look around and see the woman who can bear no children or the woman who cannot bear the children she has,  the man without a woman, the man with a woman, the victims of earthquakes or earaches, of indigestion on the one hand or starvation on the other.  Examples can be multiplied indefinitely.  If we have not personally had much to suffer we may well ponder the fact that we are not long for this world and that no one gets out of it alive.  I gives us food for thought.

But suffering does not present for the atheist the problem that it does for the Christian.  Oh, the atheist suffers all right, as intensely as anyone else.   He casts about for ways to avoid suffering, to alleviate suffering, or to endure it.  He can look for the silver lining if he wishes, opine that it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, or philosophize that that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  But that;s about all the philosophizing he can do.  His lot is quiet desperation, quiet resignation, or not-so-quiet rebellion, depending on his mood.

It is only the person who believes there is a rational order in the universe who is entitled to ask the reason for suffering.  What purpose does it serve? It is only the person who believes that God is, and that God is good, who has to ponder why that good God permits the innocent to suffer and the evil to prosper.  The “why” of suffering has been a stumbling-block of Christians for ages.

The thalidomide baby . . . why?  The boy-soldier in Vietnam . . . why? Why do they suffer for someone else’s stupidity or cupidity?  Atheist and Christian alike can blame a drug for as the immediate cause of the thalidomide baby’s deformity.  But what about the final cause?  Where does this hapless creature fit into the Creator’s scheme of things?

“If God is good,” the cynics ask, “why does he permit suffering, especially the suffering of the innocent?  “Is that the way a loving father acts?” If we pause to think about it, we realize that, in fact, it often is.  The small child does not now understand why the attractive insect he is about to grasp is snatched away from him.  He cannot comprehend why the answer is “No!” when he pleads for something he is better off without. He does not know why he is made to do things he does not want to do and is punished for doing things he wants to do.  Someday, when he is more mature, he will understand why his parents treated him the way they did.  For the present he must accept his frustrations, pain, and denials because someone who loves him knows they are necessary for his growth and happiness.

The wisest of men is but a baby when it comes to fathoming the designs of a God who can “write straight with crooked lines”and has ordered all things to the good.  It is immediately apparent that there is no direct proportion between sin and suffering, at least in this life.  Rather, if there is any proportion at all, it seems to be inverse.

St.Teresa is reported to have chided God, telling Him it was no wonder He had so few friends, he treated those he did have so badly.  When the blind man in the Bible asked Christ who had sinned, the man or his parents, so that he was born blind, Christ gave the answer:  It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.  There, in a nutshell, we have it.  Suffering is permitted so that the works of God may be made manifest.

From all eternity God has foreseen that the operation of natural laws and man’s freedom of choice would result in suffering.  The laws of nature are going to result in disaster when two cars hit head-on or the climatic conditions are right for a tornado.  Man’s freedom of choice is going to result in his occasionally behaving in such a manner as to grieve his fellow man.

There is no evil, however, no matter how great, that does not fit into God’s overall plan and from which He cannot draw good.  The suffering of others presents an opportunity for us to love and to serve.  Our own suffering should be looked upon as a test, not a punishment.  It will help if we can  believe with St. Teresa that from the viewpoint of eternity out life on earth will seem as but one night in a bad inn.

Suffering can bring about an opening of the heart, an awareness of the trials of others and a compassion for them.  It can soften and mellow.  It can disclose hidden strengths as well as weaknesses, reveal depths of courage and wells of kindness.  In the wake of seeing how poorly we suffer, how petty and demanding we can be, we learn tolerance for the complaints and imperfections of others.

Suffering reveals us to others and others to us.  It can bring us to our knees –we who stood so straight and self-sufficient find that we need others and God.  When the trial has passed the person might say, “It was necessary that I should suffer in order that I might learn this.”  Though he would not want to go through his ordeal again, now that it is over he considers it a valuable experience.

Suffering strips us of illusions, revises our standards of value, and often results in the replacement of old values with an entirely new set.  To quote Veuillot, “Certain things cannot be seen except with eyes that have wept.”

I believe it was Bishop Fulton Sheen who said that on the way to sanctity suffering is first endured, then accepted, then embraced.  Christians are enjoined to take up their cross and follow Christ.

Is suffering, then, a good and even a necessary thing–an unavoidable means to our eternal happiness?  If so, perhaps we would be doing others a favor by being the occasion of their suffering.  Instinctively we know that is not so.  There is plenty of suffering to go around without our deliberately doling out unnecessary pain.  We not only shrink from suffering ourselves but feel an urge to alleviate suffering in others when we are confronted  by it.

We have not been told to make each other suffer,  rather love one another.  We recognize suffering for what it is, an evil.  We feel it is right that we are told to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, visit prisoners, and otherwise comfort the afflicted.

It was also Bishop Sheen who made the statement that the world is full of half-crucified souls.  These are the people who start out willing enough to accept God’s will but find the going rough and end up saying, “Thy will be done, O Lord, — but not now, and not like this.”  “My cross is not the right kind, it rubs in the wrong places; it makes me irritable and humiliates me.  I could bear another cross with much more dignity and courage.”  Or, “My cross is not the right size.  Really, it is much too small.  I could do with a good big, satisfying burden, but these multitudinous splinters!  They drive me to distraction. Their very pettiness makes me impossible.  Let me do the thing once and grandly–not, O Lord, a lifetime of niggardly trials upon trials, day after day.”  Or, my cross is too big, more than I can bear, it is a crushing soul-searing weight.  It overwhelms me, it is too much for anyone to accept.”

Then we remember that Christ voluntarily gave up His life on the cross, suffering intense spiritual anguish,  (“My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me”)  as well as physical torture.  He has shown us the way.  “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me….”  Then, “Not my will but Thy will be done.”

We are invited to take up our crosses and follow Christ, to become other Christs, to share in His redemptive work.  Through Christ, united with Christ, the evil that is suffering has value.  This is what the saints recognized when  they desired to suffer.   To be Christ-like means to be willing to suffer for mankind.  “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.”  It is love that transforms the evil that is suffering into a redeeming force.  Accepted for love of God or fellow-man, suffering can become a thing of value.

It is human to shrink from suffering.  Even Christ did.  We need not go out of our way looking for a burden to bear.  It will come our way, sooner or later.  And when it does, if we look closely at our cross we will see that it is custom-made with our name on it.  It is designed to rub where it will hurt.  If it did not pain, if we could get used to it, it would cease to be across and it would not do the job.

The cross that is ours is master-minded exclusively for us to gradually wear away at our egocentricity, to abrade our pride, to make us not what we think we ought to be but what God thinks we ought to be.   We have but to submit to the process, to trust and “wait upon the Lord.”  With Mary we can say , “Be it done unto me….”  With Job, “Though He slay me, still will I trust in Him.”   And when we have surrendered  our will to God’s will, we find that God will not be outdone in generosity.  We receive more than we gave.  We have emptied ourselves only to be fulfilled.

Many years ago at retreat house near Chicago I chanced upon a few lines of poetry penned in the guest book by a previous visitor.  The lines were from Francis Thompson’s Hound of Heaven and were written above the signature of a man who made his retreat as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. They read:

“Ah must, Designer Infinite,

Ah must, Tho char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?”

With Thompson the writer seemed to lament the apparent truth that an instrument  that God could use for His work must first undergo fire.  In a similar metaphor another poet compared God to a sculptor and complains, “My God, Thy chisel hurts.”  The poet had put himself into God’s hands to be made into a thing of beauty but winces when His chisel chips away at the ugliness in which he is enmeshed.

For the atheist there can be no purpose in suffering.  It is simply an evil to be avoided if possible. For the Christian it is also an evil but when  this evil befalls us we can believe, and even sometimes see, that evil is only permitted by God because it cannot triumph.  God’s work WILL be done.


March 14th, 2017


Just a sign to say I’m living, that I’m not among the dead,

Though I’m getting more forgetful, and more mixed up in my head,

For sometimes I can’t remember when I stand at the foot of the stairs

if I must go up for something, or I’ve just come down from there.

And before the “frig” so often my poor mind is filled with doubt –

Have I just put food away or have I cone to take it out?

And there are times when it is dark out, with my nightcap on my head,

i don’t know if I’m retiring, or just getting out of bed.

So if it’s my turn to write you, there’s no need of getting sore,

i may think that I have written, and don’t want to be a bore.

Please remember I do love you, and I wish that you were here,

But now it’s nearly mail time so I’ll just say “Goodbye dear.”


There I stood by the mailbox, with my face so very red!

Instead of mailing you my letter, I opened it up instead!

             Writer unknown found among my papers.

July 5th, 2015


Here I am, practically 92, actually finding old age enjoyable in some ways.  Yes, I look old.  I feel old.  I creak and limp and use a cane.  But there are two  things I really appreciate, the VISTA and the PANOPLY.

VISTA.  I look at my children.  At this point, even  they look old, some are older than 60 and have the greying hair to prove it.  At this point they are pretty much who they are going to be.  Their strengths, their gifts have made themselves known.  Their skills are honed.     They are settled in somewhere, somehow.   But still, still, I find myself getting to know some of them and others, the ones far away, I still yearn to know.  Their strengths I rejoice in.  I am delighted to learn they now know more about many things than I do and have valuable advice.  Their faults I pray about.  They are my children and I will never cease loving them.

My children have children, in young adulthood.  To my mind, they are still wet behind the ears.  They are learning, seeking, finding their way in this challenging world.  One is a farrier and a forger (the kind with a forge.). One is a tattoo artist, one has a Ph.D., another is getting a P.A.  We have a nurse, an “activist,” a wanderer, a missionary, some with jobs I don’t really understand.  I love to follow their lives on Facebook.  Some agree with my politics and religion.  Some heartily disagree.  I trust they know I love them regardless and pray they will find truth and love along the way.

Some of my grandchildren have children.  I never see my great grandchildren because they live too far away.  Fortunately, thanks to Facebook I know what they look like and can watch them grow.  The youngest will be three on my birthday on July 11.

THE PANOPLY.    So I sit at this pinnacle looking down the vista to the past and all around me to the panoply.  I’ve been around so long and grasped so little one wonders if it will all ever make sense.  Is it a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?  Here and there a person or an incident stand out as being key to a greater picture.  And though I think I catch a glimpse of a overall reason for it all it is like seeing through a glass darkly, somewhat like looking at the underside of a tapestry and imagining the topside.

Early man looked about him and that was as far as he could see.  Television gave us a “window to the world.”  We wanted to go everywhere, see all cultures.  It’s all there – everything in the world – at the tips of our fingers, at the turn of a knob.  Add the Internet to that and it is more than enough–it is too much.  It is not humanly possible to grasp.  We need to find a way to winnow, to choose wisely, to find a way that makes sense, to sort things out.  For myself I look for people I judge to be both wise and good to lead me in the way to proceed.  It is all too difficult and I need help, especially from  God.

In days of yore the world just used to sit there quietly and you could survey it and slowly take it in. Nowadays it seems to rush at you at breakneck speed, one thing after another, with no time to absorb and reflect. At the end of the day when the TV is turned off and the iPad put away I find it pleasant to untether my mind and just let it wander where it will. As that wise philosopher Mortimer Adler said we need to have idle time so that “things can occur to us.”
As the poet wrote, “the world is too much with us, late and soon; getting and spending we lay waste our powers, .little we see in nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away….”
No wonder it is soothing to watch the day-after-day unfolding of a flower, in real time, the old-fashioned way.  Enough with time-lapse photography! Let nature take is course.  Slowly. Slow down. Breathe. Think. Muse!
Have you ever just sat and held hands with someone you love? Take time to hold hands with God’s universe and with the living God.


February 20th, 2015


Let’s put it this way – some days I’m more competent than others.  I’m feeling that it’s time for another blogpost lest people will figure I’ve died.  Not so.  I’m active on FaceBook but those little daily FB posts don’t cut it for a blog.  So I’ll just muse along for awhile and see what develops.  Two weeks ago I tripped and banged my head against the door jamb.  My forehead grew so big I looked like an alien.  The next day I had one black eye which was swollen shut.  .  The following day two black eyes.   Over time my cheeks were black, some of my forehead, my left chin and left neck.  If I can remember how I used to go about posting photos I’ll give it a try.

Well, I give up and it’s not worth wasting time on.  It has been months since I’ve posted a photo and there’s a whole new computer to contend with.  Sometimes, lately, I’m just not up to it.  Suffice to say that it is now two weeks since the incident and most people hardly notice that I’m a trifle discolored.   Then there’s the sciatica for which I’ve had an MRI and physical therapy.  All this takes time and saps strength.    None of it is life-threatening so it’s just a case of carry on until the next development.

I love old people!  When we get together, it’s like a mutual support club, swapping miseries, helping out, encouraging.  A friend told me she didn’t like being 67 at all; she couldn’t imagine what 91 would be like!  We octogenarians understand.  Tomorrow I plan to get together with my siblings (all still alive, 89, 87, 85, and 83) just because we can arrange such a thing and who know when there might be another opportunity!  Unfortunately our baby sister in Florida (only 77) can’t make it.  We are all semi-decrepit and I’m sure the Olive Garden people will notice when we walk in!

We don’t drive if we can avoid it and some don’t drive anymore.  Our eyesight is failing.  Memories are definitely disappearing, some more than others.  Actually we’re pretty good at old memories; it’s the recent ones that don’t want to stick around.  Just this morning I couldn’t remember something and now I can’t remember what it was I couldn’t remember.

Later:  Update on the sciatica, since lots of people complain when the largest nerve in the human body starts to act up.  Despite a couple months of massage, ultrasound, and exercises I can’t really say it’s much better – maybe a little less pain but more paresthesias.  Insurance refuses to cover Lidocaine patches for pain and  neurologist is on vacation till April!  Will see my internist next week.

I think I’ll just post this little update so everyone will know I still live and still blog.

Love to all!




August 26th, 2014


Leona Choy is an old friend (only 89) who I have never met personally but who is stitched to me with invisible threads. She writes so well, so clearly, that every now and then I just lift something from her blog because I think it belongs here, on mine. God bless Leona. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. Herewith:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014GOD’S INVISIBLE THREAD
It continually amazes me that some of my closest friends are people whom I have never met, who live across the country or even across the world. In most cases I’ve never even seen their photo. We have become invisibly bonded, I know their spirits intimately, and they know the essence of me.

We have connected through some incredible ways: at at crisis moment in their life someone gave them one of my books, another friend whom I never met introduced me, someone came across my blog, or saw my interview on TV. Like a needle and thread sewing into my life-cloth, God brings them in and also out through every season of my life as if sewn into my life-cloth with a needle and invisible thread. Our lives are made up of relationships invisibly interconnected.

The Invisible Thread is the title of a book whose author I saw interviewed on television. It’s the true story of two unlikely people whose lives seemed to be coincidentally brought together. The author referred to an ancient Chinese proverb: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

I believe this is more than a wishful concept. It echoes the outworking of the promise in Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It mirrors God’s networking in our lives like a weaving which we see only from the underside. God plans the unique design from above and connects the threads that will make it beautiful. The completed weaving may not be visible now, but we look forward to seeing the whole when we finish our life journey, when all things are made clear in God’s presence. Then we’ll understand the reason for the stretches and tangles and dark threads as well as the bright colors.

Some people come into our lives only briefly but always for some purpose that God might intend differently for each of the persons involved. I am part of all whom I have met and they are part of me. Some people have come into my life for longer periods, even for a lifetime. Some are not meant to stay after their purpose for coming is fulfilled. I must be willing to let them go.

I begin my prayer each morning as I present myself to God according to Romans 12:1 by asking the Lord, “Bring into my life today everyone and everything that is in Your perfect will—whether by phone call, email, thought, in person, by a reminder to pray, through a chance meeting, scheduled appointment, letter, an obligation which I must fulfill, my routine responsibilities, or any other means. Please keep out of my life anything and anyone not in accord with Your purpose. I want to do Your will on earth this day as it is done in Heaven.”

By melding my will with God’s will and speaking it aloud, I remind myself, and God, and Satan and his scheming minions, that I am committed to obey God. I can then accept whatever and whoever the Holy Spirit will thread into my life. If unexpected and unwanted things happen and my own plans and schedule are disrupted, I can still be at peace that God’s invisible thread is sewing into my life the better plan for His sovereign purposes.

This close relationship with God gives me a reason to put my feet on the floor when I wake up in the morning because I anticipate a daily adventure with God. He is full of surprises. Sometimes His serendipity blessings are visible and tangible but sometimes invisible and spiritual. Sometimes they are blessings in the disguise of negative events. Nevertheless, I can accept them all because they are God-woven with His invisible golden threads.

(Excerpt from Chapter on Relationships from Leona’s forthcoming book)

July 11th, 2014


Ninety-one! When I learned that there are some World War II veterans still alive at age 107 I warned my family not to count on my leaving anytime soon. I could still be around for another seventeen years! Or not. No one knows what the next day may bring. Every day is a gift.

Last week the cancer on my left hand was scraped off creating a whole new wound just when the biopsy site was almost healed. And the dermatologist prescribed a 5 fluorouracil cream (very expensive) for my face that produces flaming red spots. As a matter of fact when Bette Midler’s dermatologist prescribed this very cream for her she tweeted that she would have to sell her house to pay for it! We all have our problems!

My friend, Stanley, recently had his hip replaced at the age of 95, and he is up and walking again. I am impressed with the way we old folks continue to heal, though somewhat more slowly. It has taken two years for the toenail on my big toe to replace itself, the last bit of the old nail has yet to be sloughed off so the changeover will be complete. I had never experienced itching with healing until my recent hand surgery when the itching of my wrist was so intense that I got up in the middle if the night to apply cortisone ointment.

On the whole for a scrawny old lady with a cane, a bandaged hand and a spotted face, I’m doing quite well. There are days when I awake with something that could pass for vigor. Other days there is nothing I desire more than to be lying on my bed. So comfy, so horizontal. Some days there is sciatica going down my right leg. Some days my back won’t let me stand up straight. Thank God it is only some days, not all of them. And cute as my new upper teeth are, sometimes I gag on my denture. A multiplicity of petty complaints and, believe me, I recognize their pettiness.

As much as I enjoy Facebook for keeping up with friends and relatives I find that it is getting unwieldy. Too many ads. And too inviting for aimless browsing. There are so, so many cute videos and interesting posts that it requires discipline to put my iPad down and ask God how I might better spend my time. On the other hand, I’ve made friends on FB who I feel really close to though we’ve never met. They are “family” in spirit, not in blood and by some happy happenstance we have been instrumental in each other’s lives. The “family of God” is alive and well on Facebook. There is a world-wide kinship of people who love the same Father, who pray as Jesus taught, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

Just a week ago I read “The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God” which I found so awesome that I promptly ordered three more copies. Just last week hurricane Arthur came up the east coast and kept us glued to our TVs following its progress. Just last week the United States was invaded by thousands of CHILDREN coming over the Mexican border (who ever heard of such a thing?) Just last week Joan Rivers went viral with her comment that we had a gay president and Michelle was a “tranny.” It will be interesting to see the fall-out from that! For the first time in history the Dow is over 17,000. An old friend died yesterday at the age of 102. Israel is a tiny country, the size of New Jersey, called Little Satan by Islamic extremists who want to wipe it off the face of the nap. (The United States is Big Satan.) This morning they reported that half if it’s population had spent the night in air raid shelters! God help us all!

When I told a friend that I find life at 91 quite exciting. His comment was, “If you don’t, you’re not paying attention!”


Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.[m]
3 Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
4 “I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
6 his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 People will dwell again in his shade;
they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what more have I[n] to do with idols?
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
your fruitfulness comes from me.”
9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.

June 7th, 2014


Of course I’ve known for years that I have a lot more than I need and things that I’ll never need at all. But it’s hard to just throw out perfectly good stuff and difficult as well as time-consuming to find happy homes for things no longer wanted, even useful, cute, wearable things. Too many tall vases, too many warm slightly worn blankets, towels, sheets. Waffle iron? Mugs? Decisions! To keep? To throw out? To find someone who will appreciate your unwanteds? Decisions!

On the bright side, I’m all set up in my old bedroom with all I need within easy reach. After being without TV for all of Lent I felt I could live without my TV but I was told “You like to watch Five at Five–you need to have it.” And, presto, the boys arranged a power source by simply drilling a hole through a closet wall and there my TV sits four feet from my head. Computer and printer wired and functioning. Places to recharge cell phone and iPad. Clock merrily shining the time on the ceiling come nighttime. Enough clothes for the season which was the first thing I attended to when all the re-arranging started.

I’ve been living alone since my tenant, Jon, got married a few months ago and I really like having people around for a good part of the day. To tell the truth, I was content with my old house the way it was, but I am also content, even happy, with all the good will that I see daily in the efforts on my behalf. Fortunately I’m an orderly person and know that if I take it easy everything will be orderly again in due course. Hopefully I can learn the “take it easy” part.

An unexpected glimpse into the past came when some of the old paneling was removed revealing the old chalkboard from forty years ago–with my writing still on it–telling Dan to do the bathroom floor “again.” It was not a true chalkboard, just green chalkboard paint on the wall. But it worked and chores got done if the kids wanted their allowances.

All that plaster coming down, eight walls and two ceilings, has created an amazing amount of fine dust and big chunks all over the place. When I started to sneeze and my nose started to drip I decided to seek fresh air outdoors only to find two big window fans working full-time to blow the dust outdoors. God willing this won’t go on too long or I’ll get some sort of lung disease in spite of my face mask.

Fortunately my limited living quarters are approaching some semblance of orderliness and the future looks tolerable. Several days later the dust and sneezing have subsided without morphing into some pulmonary disease. Lastly, now, the cement truck has come and left many cubic feet of mixed concrete in the holes in the basement floor achieved with much racket which will provide footings for columns to shore up the whole edifice. What a good hardworking thorough son I have been blessed with! Just suppose we had stopped after only six kids! Perish the thought!

April 18th, 2014


The upheaval is underway full-tilt! The little room that once held a cot, chest of drawers, bookcase, computer snd printer, racks and shelves of clothes, miscellaneous window and wall appurtenances–gone, gutted, the lathes and plaster carted away; there never was any insulation. GUTTED! Everything worth keeping is somewhere else.

Next comes the big room, the living room, where I essentially lived when not in thr kitchen. Who wants all the stuff that has to be gone forever? Books galore, hundreds of cassettes, CD’S now going into boxes. Take down the pictures, put the TV somewhere else. Away with them! It’s Good Friday! Strip it!

We live in an opulent throw-away society, a time of “conspicuous consumption,” a time when a kid needs new sneakers as soon as the tops get dirty. I come from a time when you wore your sneakers until they had no soles, a time when we saved buttons and zippers and shoelaces. A time when Aunt Sue’s Sunday dress would eventually become a frock for little Nellie, then part of a quilt or a braided rug, and finally a pot holder or just plain rag. Actually I just threw out a lovely bag of shoelaces, all sizes, many colors, some not even opened yet. Such bounty–but who would appreciate a lovely collection of shoelaces other than some child in a garbage dump in Haiti? And getting them there would be such a chore. Out with it all!

Before the upheaval I had a bookcase in my bedroom on one whole wall from floor to ceiling, as well as bookshelves or bookcases in at least five other locations. It seems such a crime to throw out all that good reading! True, some are yellowed with age, and some only paperbacks that cost 35 cents in their day. Erma Bombeck, Rachel Carson, Eric Fromm. It’s going to be such a task to sort through them to make space for better(?), newer tomes which have not even been read yet, but had no shelf space.

AWAY! Till next time.

March 10th, 2014


It is ridiculous how happy I am that Lent has come at last! The TV is turned off and will be off for six weeks. I surely love to watch TV but I also love the blessed silence and time that I wallow in when all is quiet in the living room. Of course, I could turn off the TV anytime I chose during the rest of the year but it wouldn’t be the same. There is something about giving up the TV option that is freeing and gives me some understanding of the role of retreats or vacations. Some people might think that at 90 my life is just one big long vacation but it is amazing how busy it is. (Confession: I lie down and sleep more than I used to.)

To follow up on my last post, my balance has improved considerably but I do use my HurryCane outdoors and find in helpful on winter terrain or uneven surfaces. It also seems to make people more solicitous, which is not all bad. The dental surgery I alluded to has occurred — one more lower tooth gone, and not that many more to go! For a while because of dizziness and tooth problems I couldn’t tolerate my new lovely upper denture but am now doing my best to really wear it more often. It does help with chewing and I look cuter, but old dogs don’t take kindly to new tricks.

Alas, the time I hoped to use for more blogging has vanished. When my tenant finally moved out my son brought about a dozen boxes down from the attic that I didn’t even know were there, a real treasure trove from God knows when. It will probably take all of Lent to deal with the contents–baby clothes! diapers! cloth diapers! the old kind! My last baby is now 53 and we moved here in 1963. My old report cards from the thirties! Newspapers about the fire at Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago, December 1958. Three of my children were in attendance there the day of the fire–92 children and three nuns died as a result but mine were spared, thank you Lord! I remember my mom calling from Connecticut in tears, fearing her first grandchildren had died.

So much to do, so much to blog about, old friends dying, greatgrandchildren that I’ve never seen (Maine, Florida) growing up on Facebook. My children and grandchildren keep in touch on Facebook. As do old friends. So I hope it is understandable that Facebook is a daily thing and blogging is when I have time. There are often things I want to write about “sometime” but the time seems to slip away. I you can’t find me on Facebook, you will know I am very not well!

Friends are so precious. Thanks to each one who bothers to look in now and then. A few days ago I posted on Facebook the lyric poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay called Renascence. If you enjoy poetry take a look–it is a gift from her to me to you.

“You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.”
―Mortimer Adler

January 27th, 2014


I am so blessed!

The MRI of my head turned out to be normal for age.  I really thought it would be, but there was still an anxiousness that comes with any sort of testing.  Being claustrophobic. I think I was more anxious about the test itself than the results of the testing.    It has been a trying month, overall, with people driving me here and there,  the water heater needing replacement, the freezing polar vortex  and two snowstorms, all in the middle of the holidays! I feel as if I’ve been through the wringer (who knows what a wringer is nowadays?). As if I’m being hollowed out – like I’m flotsam and jetsam – like its time to get off the merry-go-round and settle down – if it’s possible to settle down when you’re wobbly with a cane!

And yet, in the midst of it all, aside from gratefulness for such health as I have, there is an immense thankfulness for the family that I have.  The kids grow up, move away, live their own lives, beyond my watch. When we meet again it’s like discovering a new person. They get funny ideas and you can’t imagine how they got that way. But you discover kind hearts. It’s strange to be on the receiving end of the tender loving care. Each one has been there for me, stopping in to see how I’m doing, calling, bringing food,  taking me for the CAT scan, the physical therapy, etc, etc, right up to last night when Mary took her Xanax-drugged Mommy for the MRI scan, then brought her home and saw her tucked unto bed.  How I love those kids!

Here, Terry and I visit Dr. Mashman who ordered an MRI to rule out acoustic neuroma or a small stroke. Dr.Mashman hired me as secretary to Associated Neurologists in the 1970s.
It took me an hour to get this “selfie” of Dr. M from my email onto my blog. As you can see, I’m a devotee of “good enough.” These old brains can’t take too much strain.

Alas, once I get on an even keel, I see some dental surgery in the near future. Such is life. Thanks be to God who plans all things well.


But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go. — John 21:18