Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
August 4th, 2013

A POEM

To Those I Love, by Isla Paschal Richardson

If I should ever leave you
     whom I love
To go along the silent way
     grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears,
   but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were
     beside you there.
     (I’d come – I’d come,
     could I but find a way!
     But would not tears and grief
     be barriers?)
And when you hear a song
     or see a bird
I loved, please do not let
    the thought of me
Be sad . . . for I am loving you
     just as I always have . . .
You were so good to me!
There are so many things
     I wanted still to do,
So many things
     to say to you . . .
Remember that I
     did not fear . . . it was
Just leaving you that was
     so hard to face . . .
We cannot see Beyond . . .
But this I know:
I loved you so – ’twas heaven here
     with you!
 

 

 

 

June 9th, 2013

MARRIED!

No arms, no legs! I thought Nick Vujicic was an extraordinary man when I blogged about him last year. He has done amazing things since he came into the world without limbs – he found God, he found meaning in his life, he has helped millions of others to also find meaning. It gives me great happiness to post the video below. Nick, at 29, has found a beautiful wife, Kanae Miyahara, and they have learned that they are now expecting a baby – a boy complete with the usual number of limbs, toes, and fingers. What hath God wrought?

The Incredible Love Story of Nick Vujicic and His New Wife from keephopealive on GodTube.

We do not know what God has planned for those who love him. “In God we trust” is the wisdom of the ages.

April 15th, 2013

“WELCOME”

Just a few months ago my favorite word was “cherished.” Today it’s “welcome.” Please feel welcome to my blog. I pretty much let it all hang out.

God seems to be about relationships, as evidenced by that “love one another” thing. The Trinity might be considered the “family” of God, with an interrelationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Throughout the Class Mammalia (which includes us) we note that it requires a relationship between a male and a female for a species to continue. Once a female becomes pregnant, it seems that she is hard-wired to care for her young. In more primitive times, the young would have surely died were she not equipped with mammary glands to produce milk. The power of the mothering instinct was brought home to me when our Cocker Spaniel, Josephine, was locked out of the house one day, leaving her puppies inside. Josephine really made a wreck of the wooden screen door, apparently clawing at it or biting at it, in her frantic effort to reach her puppies. I did not replace or repair the door, keeping it as evidence of the strength of mothering instinct. (I did paint over the bare wood resulting from her efforts, but what a testimony!)

Nature and nature’s God have arranged it that we come into the world as part of a family unit. We belong somewhere, with someone. God could have dropped us, full-grown, into the midst of strangers. But, no, children arrive so cute and helpless and needy that caring arises in us and the next thing you know we have the basic unit of society, the family. We begin life being connected and grow up amid people we have always known. Home, it has been said, is the place where when you go there, they have to let you in. There is nothing, nothing, nothing as good for a child’s soul as knowing he is accepted and welcomed. All the research shows that children do best when they are raised with a mother and a father in the basic natural unit, the family.

Things happen. Sometimes things do not go according to “the plan.”  Some children are not raised with the ideal mother, father, and stable home.   Still we never outgrow the need to be welcomed somewhere, by someone. “Please love me” is the cry of every heart.  It seems to me that until we find ourselves welcomed, until we find the acceptance, the approval, the welcome that we all need, until we find a “home,” a place, a purpose, and a plan for ourselves, that we are not really free to welcome others.  We are too busy looking inward,  trying to fill the void in ourselves, to spend much time looking outward.

There comes a day when we realize that families may fail, people will disappoint, but we still have a place, a plan and a purpose.  The place is where we are at the moment, the plan is to be loving to the person at hand, and the purpose is to seek the will of God.  We then find that we do have a family.  “Our Father” is our father.  Jesus is our brother.  Jesus’ mother is our mother.  We look about and find members of  our family everywhere.  They all follow (pretty much) the same moral code.  Brotherhood abounds.

We realize we are just passing through, and our final home awaits us.  We look about and recognize fellow travelers.  They, like us, are still “works in progress,” but they are family and somewhat worthy of trust.  We are finally welcomed and are welcoming.

Years ago when I was afflicted by agoraphobia I knew that something had gone dreadfully wrong; the feeling that I might literally “disintegrate” was uncomfortable (to put it mildly) and I knew I needed help of some sort. The thought that made it easier for me to go to a doctor was the knowledge that he was a Christian and he “had to” love me, even if I was crazy! To this day, that doctor remains for me the paradigm of Christian love. (Click “about me” at the top of the right hand column for that story.)

Hi, welcome to my blog.  And welcome to the family of God.

Pope Francis talks about the church as the Family of God on the feast of Corpus Christi, 2013.

March 26th, 2013

DAUGHTERS

my girls

Daughters, together once again after such a long time  –  each and every one a blessing – Mary Eileen, Wendy Maurya, Kathleen Marian, Teresa Marie. Then there’s Margaret Maureen, of happy memory.

Peggy's Last Christmas

Peggy’s Last Christmas

When I last saw Peggy she was stuffing cotton into fabric tubes to be braided into wreaths and given as Christmas gifts.  She was also making a footstool for Ron and we had to travel to St. Augustine to get the proper foam for it.  It was there we visited the shrine of Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto.
pegs wreath

The last time I heard from Peggy was the Easter before she died. She was so good about remembering every holiday. I think she was the only person who ever sent me an Easter card. God bless her and keep her.

March 19th, 2013

AFTER ABORTION, WHAT?

The following letter was received from Sav-A-Life of Macon GA. It was from a woman named Jane. The letter was dated January 22, the year 2023.

Dear Mom,

Gosh, can you believe it’s 2023 already? I’m still writing “22” on nearly everything. Seems like just yesterday I was sitting in first grade celebrating the century change!

I know we haven’t really chatted since Christmas. Sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news and I really didn’t want to call and talk face-to-face.

Ted’s had a promotion, and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in those crazy hours. You know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling with the bills.

Timmy’s been “OK” at kindergarten, although he complains about going. But then he wasn’t happy about daycare either, so what can I do?

He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly he’s an unfair burden at this time in our lives. Ted and I have talked this through and through and finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made it and are much better off.

Our pastor is supportive and says hard decisions are sometimes necessary. The family is a “system,” and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. He told us to be prayerful, consider all the factors, and do what is right to make the family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the decision is really ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part is easy.

I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he overheard Ted and me talking about “it” the other night. I turned around and saw him standing at the bottom step in his pj’s with the little bear you gave him under his arm and his eyes sort of welling up.

Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart. But I honestly believe this is better for Timmy, too. It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves. And PLEASE don’t give me the kind of grief Grandma gave you over your abortions. It’s the same thing, you know.

We’ve told him he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say the termination procedure is painless.

I guess it’s just as well you haven’t seen that much of him. Love to Dad.

Jane

February 9th, 2013

WINTER STORM SOUP

Connecticut. Major, major winter snowstorm. Can’t go anyplace. Not allowed to go any place! Home alone. And then, at the back door, son Dan with a container of what he calls “winter storm soup.”

He made it himself. It’s hot. And, so help me, it’s pink! With lots of green things floating in it. He tells me what its made of — broccoli, kale, asparagus, something called chorizo, a couple of kinds of beans, I don’t know what else. I taste it and it’s really good with a zip to it which I attribute to the chorizo. Never met a chorizo in my life but google tells me that chorizo is a spicy sausage containing pork and paprika. Aha! Paprika explains why the soup is pink! I think the asparagus gives it a rather unusual taste.

They tell me there are close to two feet of snow outside but it seems to have stopped snowing. Quite a bit of wind, blowing the snow around. Lots of drifts and I can’t get the back door open. Sooner or later Dan will plow the driveway and the mayor will allow us out on the streets. In the meantime, I am snug and warm, with electricity and hot water, and there is still a lot of winter storm soup waiting in my refrigerator.

To me, the words “winter storm soup” spell love.

January 31st, 2013

GRANDPA DIED; CAROL CRIED.

I have just come across the thoughts that crossed Carol’s mind when she learned her grandpa (who was my father and her father’s father) died.

I got to Media Communication last Friday morning a few minutes late. “The teacher’s got a message for you,” said Mary.

I already knew what it was and I swore softly to myself. “Call home immediately,” the note read. My grandfather had died.

I knew I should be glad he had died. He had been in a lot of pain and he had led a good life. For two weeks now I had expected that “Call home immediately,” but now that it was here, I was shaken. I was glad for him, but what about me? I had lost a grandfather, the man who had taught me how to play checkers.

I left class and called my mother. “The wake is today…the funeral tomorrow…He died peacefully. Skip your second class…catch the 12:05…dress nice.” I went back for the end of class and thought about the baby my friend had had the week before.

At the wake a plaque held the words “FRANK G. HODSON.” An open casket held the body that had been Grandpa’s. He lay on his back with his hands gently on his stomach just as he always did when he napped. His skinny-lapel black suit was meticulously pressed as usual, and his grey mustache was neatly trimmed. I would have thought he was asleep except where his lips would have been slightly parted to let out a nasal snore, they were closed tight. And the old grey afghan that would have been pulled up to his waist was now an American flag. Two weeks ago he had beaten me in checkers in six moves. Today he was napping in a different world.

That night I dreamed of him. We were playing on the street and he challenged me to a race. Hand in hand we tore along the side of the road like athletes. Next he was dancing. I think it was an Irish jig. Francis Gardner Hodson, a proper Englishman, spiritualist, WWI veteran, and Danbury checker champ, did a jig for me.

The funeral service was for my grandmother. The Christian quotes and biblical phrases warmed her. They held one hand, my father held the other.

The trail of automobile high beams was three blocks long. My brothers and I were in the third car of the funeral procession. Nervously, we joked and kidded as we followed the limousine to the cemetery.

Clustered around the coffin in a new section of the cemetery we all looked very, very small. I stood behind my brothers, next to my sister and her boyfriend. I hung my head and hid behind the hair that fell over my eyes. My father and his brother, Bob, stood on either side of my grandmother. Next were my aunts, and the grandchildren and the greatgrandchildren.

I had never seen my father lose his composure before. Always calm and stately like his father, it tore at me to see him fight his tears. The English in him was fighting to dominate. His forehead was creased with tension, his back erect and stiff in the breeze, his eyes welling and blinking but not releasing. I cried his tears. The tears I had never seen him shed. I cried for my father.

The flag was folded and given to my grandmother. Tired and worn, she handed the flag to Johnny. Respectfully, he held the flag, not knowing why he had been given such an honor. And there was my father. He was trying so hard to be strong as he blinked back his tears. And there was my grandfather in both of them. He had not left me.
The End
by Carol Hodson

January 29th, 2013

THE WEDDING: LIVE!

I can’t get enough of Amy and Ryne’s wedding!   The photographs were planned and posed and  beautiful but this video which just arrived via email shows clearly the extraordinary talent of the photographer who apparently could herd cats if necessary.  I love the way she gets bunches of giggling, jiggling men and women somehow arranged to result in gorgeous pictures.   Also, the mother and father of the bride (daughter Katy and her husband Ken) are more in evidence and, since I couldn’t be there, I do appreciate the opportunity to hear Ken’s “father of the bride” words and to see Katy dance!

January 23rd, 2013

SIX MONTHS WITH iPAD

I found it somewhat daunting when Katy gave me an iPad for my 89th birthday.  What?  Another technological thing to have to learn to cope with?  I’m not at all sure I can stretch my brain that far.  But today, iPad sleeps next to my bed and is there to befriend me when I wake up.  Just open it up and I have light in the darkness.  A touch and it will tell me how cold it is outside and how much it might warm up to, so I know what to wear today.  Another touch and I can see if anyone has made another Scrabble move and even chat with the Scrabble players about the weather, their wellness, or whatever.

How does it happen?  In the olden days I didn’t understand radio.   Daddy got a galena, showed us how to make a cat’s s whisker and find a sensitive spot so we could hear a radio program.   How did that happen?  I wonder now where he got the earphones that made the sound audible to us.  How did HE know all this stuff so he could teach us?  My Daddy had brains I am only beginning to appreciate!  Wind the fine copper wire into a coil, hitch it up to the cat’s whisker, find the right spot on the crystal, put on the earphones, and, presto, a radio program right out of thin air!  It boggled my mind 80 years ago and it hasn’t gotten any better.  How did those radio waves find my house from miles away, go right through the walls, into every room in my house?    I fancied the air full of invisible sound that my natural ears could not hear.   And it seemed that the invisible sound was EVERYWHERE!

Today there is not only invisible sound EVERYWHERE, but invisible pictures, movies, clouds full of information,that, through the magic of WiFi (whatever that is) my iPad  can reach out and grab.  How does that happen?  Last week we had our sibling gathering down at Ernie’s house in Monroe, CT.   I took my iPad along.  I asked Ernie for his WiFi password.  Clue me in.  Does everyone with a computer have an iPad password?  Well,  Ernie had one and next thing you know my iPad was plugged into the world.  I pushed the FaceTime button and Dolly’s phone number in Florida.  (Dolly is our sister and we thought it would be nice to include her, finally, in one of our sibling gatherings.)  And there’s Dolly’s face!!!  Living, breathing, talking, joining in, live and in real time, with us, all together!  How does that happen?

We passed Dolly and the iPad around so each of us could have a few words with her and even a few words with her hubby, Dwight.  In FLORIDA!  How does that happen?  It seems to me the very air must be a veritable soup of sound and people and it’s EVERYWHERE!   I don’t understand it!  Once my sister called me on her cell phone and I received her call  in the airport in PUERTO RICO!   Once when it seemed that Terry should have been back from Indiana by now I called her on my phone and she answered ON A TRAIN IN VIRGINIA!

I do not understand this modern world.   How is it that EVERYTHING IS EVERYWHERE?  Once, long ago, when my brain was young, I did not understand radio.   Now that my brain is old and tired I guess I should just accept the inexplicability of technology and hope that maybe somewhere there is someone who gets it.   All I know is, it’s not me.

January 9th, 2013

TOO BUSY

I have a radio that I listen to first thing in the morning to see what the weather is.   And sometimes when I’m sleepless at night. I need to know how to dress and whether the car needs defrosting. My cell phone is smart but not smart enough to talk to (no Siri).   I can call or text people, take pictures or little videos which I can send places, actually go on the internet or to Facebook to search around, but the screen is so small and the alphabet buttons so small it is a bit of a chore.  I prefer to use my new computer.   So big, so Touch-Smart, so fast, with a nice big keyboard.  There must be something my computer can’t do but I can’t think of it.   I can actually dial people with a touch and talk to them (apparently through the screen!).   I can find lost friends, type letters which I send to a printer that spits them out, search how to make guacamole, print photos that I send from the phone or my iPad.

Oh, yes.  The iPad!  Katy gave it to me for my birthday and I was wary of having yet another technical challenge, but we are friends now — sort of.   I am well aware the my iPad has icons and talents that I haven’t begun to appreciate.  But it’s great for email, super-great for Scrabble, and it, too, can take photos and videos–bigger and better than those on  my phone.  Then there’s FaceTime.   Katy in Indiana and I in Connecticut can see each other and chat back and forth in real time with our real faces.  We did that when her daughter was being married and she modeled her mother-of-the bride dress for me before the wedding.    Just recently Dolly in Florida also got an iPad and we, too, enjoyed seeing each other as we talked.

Of course, I have a radio, in the house and in the car.   My car tells me the ambient temperature and its radio doesn’t mind playing a CD for me.  The in-house radio not only plays CDs but tapes.  (Remember cassette tapes?)  Upstairs there is an older TV which is devoted to playing VHS tapes–some of which actually feature ME!

Then there’s the TV which has about a 100 channels and which, too, can play CDs and DVDs on a much bigger screen.  Surely I am technologically blessed.  When I want to “reach out and touch someone” I can do it without ever leaving the house.  I must admit all this technology helps me keep in touch with family, especially family too far afield to see personally.  There are a couple of great- grandsons I have never met.

So, it’s good.   But sometimes I feel so scattered.  I head to a machine when I am looking for human interaction.  Something to amuse or entertain is always SO available at all times that there is a tendency to latch onto something — anything — to while away the time.  One’s brain can become, in a way, tethered to the machine.  I think we all know people who simply cannot listen to what we say when a TV program is playing which holds their interest  — even though they’ve been watching TV all day and have hardly spoken a word to a real person.

Sometimes I like to break away, to set my mind free and let it wander where it will.  To muse and ponder eternal verities.  To think of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned and consider what to do next.

Lazarus has a different story. Lazarus was an atheist and is now a Coptic monk. His story begins here with the video below.  Lazarus says Christ “went apart” to pray and we should do likewise. If you keep your world small and your life simple you are less likely to get scattered.  As he says, “You can’t fall out of a cradle.”

Is it time to “go apart?” Once again, it’s all about choice.

Here is a link to The Cloistered Heart.   There is a middle way between the frenetic, all-consuming busy-ness of today’s world and and the set-apart life of a monk.  The Cloistered Heart is a beautiful blog which tries to take you there.