Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
December 27th, 2012


It occurs to me that my offspring do not know that my Daddy was an avid checker player. We always had a checkerboard handy and anytime a visitor came over sooner or later he was asked if he would enjoy a game of checkers. It was a happy interlude for Dad and a quiet time for the rest of us. Sometimes, when it got serious, we would all stand around and watch. All of us learned to play both checkers and chess, but checkers seemed to be Dad’s favorite. He seldom lost.

All this comes to mind on viewing the story of chess champion Magnus Carlsen.
Mozart of Chess: Magnus Carlsen

We may have a latent chess genius among us. Could be in the genes?  How would we know? The young are consumed with twiddling their thumbs over video games that seek to splatter fellow humans over the landscape. It occurs to me that chess or checkers present a more peaceful battlefield as well as a more challenging game. How would I know, never having done any virtual killing. (O, I forgot about Whackamole!)

I must find a checkerboard somewhere and get it out when the kids come over. Wonder were I put the chessmen. Do I remember rightly that the pawn moves forward one or two spaces, but captures on the diagonal? Time to freshen up.

December 24th, 2012


Here I am, half-way to ninety, and I have been confronted by the evidence that in some areas my ignorance is still abysmal!  It all began when sniffling and sneezing started a couple of days ago, properly treated with Cold-Eeze and vitamin C.  I hoped I had nipped it in the bud until yesterday when the coughing set it — a dry cough, persistent and uncontrollable.  I coughed until my ribs hurt and I wet my pants ( several times.)  In the middle of the night I did a wash because I had wet two pajama bottoms and I needed clean ones. Fortunately I had some cough medicine left over from my last cold  nine months ago.  After taking some I managed to sleep awhile but woke up still coughing and wetting.

Time for an SOS email to daughter, Terry, caregiver par excellence, who knows about such things.  It seemed I should buy some sort of pad so I wouldn’t have to keep changing and washing underclothes but it had been some seventy years since I had done such a thing.  What would she recommend?  Would I need, once more, one of those sanitary belts of yesteryear?  What is out there in the feminine hygiene section?

So today is Christmas-eve day and I have given myself the gift of just staying home and taking care of me.  I am loving Fox News.  The Fox News go-to priest just told a beautiful story that just happened yesterday when he visited a dying, cantankerous patient who was remarkably touched by his praying presence.  They are not afraid to wish me Merry Christmas.   I’m watching Fox, still in bed, when Terry appears with 1) cough medicine, 2) Depends, and 3) diapers. Who knew?  They have pull-up diapers for grown people!  I should have guessed it as I knew the kiddies had them.

I read the package info on the Depends:  worry-free odor control, soft, breathable, slip on and off,  do NOT flush.  I put one of them on, just for kicks, out of sheer joy that such a thing is out there for us!  I have not wet it yet and don’t really expect to as my cough is looser and more controllable today.  Who would expect that discovering the very existence of Depends would be considered a Christmas gift?

Several years ago when I talked about the joys and trials of aging, and I wrote about my vertigo, and skin cancer surgery, and all, I wondered if I would let you know when I employed Depends.   Well, I guess I have and I think it is something to be thankful for.  So thank you, Kimberly-Clark, and thank you, Terry.



December 21st, 2012


When something happens like the shooting and killing of 20 kids and 7 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 11 some will ask, “Where was God?” Mike Huckabee gives his answer.

Or, to put it another way:

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.
He followed her to school one day
It wasn’t against the rule.
It made the children laugh and play
To see the lamb at school.
And then the rules were changed one day
Illegal it became
To bring the Lamb of God to school
Or even speak His name
Every day got worse and worse,
And days turned into years
Instead of hearing children laugh
We heard gunshots and tears.
What must we do to stop the crime
That’s in our schools today?
Let’s let the Lamb come back to school
And teach our kids to pray.


There is enough light for those who wish to see, and enough darkness for those otherwise inclined. — Pascal

December 19th, 2012


On December 1, 1958, a fire at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago claimed the lives of 92 children and 3 nuns. Three of my children were at school at that time. This dreadful memory is re-awakened by the killing, last week, in the next town to me (Sandy Hook, Newtown) of 27 people, including 20 first grade students, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter then took his own life.

I am astounded to find I have nothing on my blog about the OLA fire and that needs to be remedied now. Unlike the parents in Newtown, I did not have to go running to the burning school fearing to find my children burned or dead. I had left my house planning to go to the store with the two little kids in the stroller. On the way to the store I found Wendy coming from school who told me the school was on fire! Fortunately, and thank God!, Terry and Peggy soon came along. They had gotten out safely. Some of our neighbors did not fare so well.

We are blessed to be have available photos of Wendy’s classroom and Terry’s classroom taken a couple of years earlier. Terry is first, in the first row. Wendy is second, in the first row. Note, please, the size of the class. In those days one nun was able to deal with sixty students! How things have changed!

Terry in class

Wendy in class

For those with an interest in the Our Lady of the Angels school fire the link (first line) above presents an awesome overview put together by someone quite some time after the fact. At the time of the fire Wendy was in room 206. This little note explains why she escaped safely.

About this classroom:
This classroom was located on the second floor of the annex, closest to the north wing classrooms. While no children or staff in room 206 suffered significant injuries, this is the room from which a 10-year-old boy was excused to go to the restroom shortly after 2 pm, a few minutes before the fire started in the basement. Several years later, at age 13, he confessed to setting the fire in a trash barrel in the basement. In court, however, he recanted the confession, and neither he, nor anyone was ever prosecuted for the fire at Our Lady of the Angels. Room 206 was one of only three classrooms with an exit leading to the school’s single external fire escape.

December 17th, 2012


Early on, when this blog first began, I posted a poem by a “crabbit old woman” who lived in a nursing home and pleaded “See Me.”  She felt misunderstood, unappreciated, overlooked.  I invite you to re-read this touching poem

I have just come across a response to the crabbit old woman which deserves consideration.

Dear Little Old Lady, it’s easy to see
You know about you, but not about me.
You think I am here for the profit and gain
Surrounded by aging, and sickness, and pain.
For you see here a woman, efficient and terse,
With a neat little pin that proclaims her a nurse
And you look in my eyes to find out what I see –
But you, too, are neglecting to learn about me.
I know you are lonely and frightened and ill
But you don’t understand when I offer my skill–
You don’t understand that I want you to live
And I’m willing to work and to help and to give..
You don’t understand that each patient I see
Is a projected picture of what I will be.
Please  understand when I have to say “No”
That it isn’t so easy although it won’t show.
Or when pain is a part of the things I must do
That the pain is for me as well as for you?
I, too, am a women–a maiden or wife–
With my even share of the burdens of life.
If I’m able to comfort or bring you a smile
My day is complete and my job is worthwhile.
I bring you my hands and my head and my heart –
The gift of my nursing, my skill and my art,
Don’t turn me away, don’t hold back your trust
For your faith in my love is an absolute must …
I will look at you always and ever will see
Not a “crabbit old lady” – just extension of me.
———-Florence DeDruchy, Department of Nursing



December 8th, 2012


Today, December 8, 2012, is your wedding day and I am writing to wish you well on your journey and to introduce myself. Welcome into the family, Ryne.  On the whole we are a pretty decent bunch. I am hoping that we might meet sometime but, in the meantime, we can meet online and on Facebook. I see from FB that you are a handsome, sports-loving young man. Looked for a photo of Amy but knew I had the right Ryne Tennant (how many can there be?) when I came across Melissa and Brian.

Next July I will be 90 years old and this grammy comes with some baggage so this might turn out to be an rather unusual letter. Everyone has a background and I am part of Amy’s. Do you ever stop to think that the person who is Amy once actually lived inside the person we call Katy? And the person we call Katy once lived inside of me? Is it not a marvelous thing that we human beings can actually, if we are so blessed, make new human beings?

Of course, we don’t have a clue as to how that really happens. There is a Designer somewhere who wrote the program and we just play our part. Let me introduce you to some of his work. Creacion_o_Coincidencia_natural1   I hope that link will work for you. I think it’s fantastic.

You are being married today,  on December 8, which is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Just in case you are clueless as to what that means, it has nothing to do with the Virgin Birth but it does have something to do with Mary, the mother of Jesus. You see, God has revealed that he is a trinity, three persons in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And Mary is daughter of the Father, mother of the Son (that would be Jesus), and spouse of the Holy Spirit. Since it was in God’s plan that Mary (if she was willing) would be the mother of Jesus, she was made sinless (immaculate) from the beginning. (I know, too much theology — so let’s drop that for now.)

My first grandmotherly advice is to keep a journal. Time goes by so fast and we forget so soon. As you grow older you will be fascinated by your notes from the past. I’ve only been blogging for four years and when I look back at those old posts I barely remember writing them and am amazed that I once knew all that stuff. And keep your notes real and true. What did you really think? How did you really feel? It is hard to know ourselves and even  harder to know each other. Aren’t you lucky? Because of my blog, you can get to know me! Somewhat.   If you want to, of course.

When Uncle Johnny asked me if I wanted him to set up a blog for me, I couldn’t imagine why. But on further thought, I decided I did have some things to say and maybe, someday, my offspring would find them interesting. That’s how it all came about. A regular treasure trove of grammy thoughts!

My second bit of advice is “be kind to each other.” The Golden Rule is in every religion and it’s still Golden. If you don’t like people shouting at you, don’t shout at them.   Stop. Think. Even pray. There has to be a better way to treat your beloved.  How do you like to be treated?

My last bit of advice is to have children. You will never make anything more wonderful, and certainly nothing else that will last for all eternity. You might think you can have children later on, or whenever you want. But that’s not true. My advice is to let God be God and accept children as a blessing when they come (IF they come). Don’t expect to be able to order children whenever you please,  like you order books on Amazon.

Finally, have a merry Christmas. I enjoyed this song this year.

Love to you both. I am looking forward to seeing photos of the event. I’m sure it will be beautiful and I would love to have been there, but I sent my delegates!






December 2nd, 2012


I received a power point email a few days ago that I thought was so beautiful and effective that I wanted to put it on my blog to go along with my previous posts on the subject of evolution.   It was a very convincing comparison of creations which are the product of the human mind and creations so beyond what humans can do that they are believed to be the product of a creator.   Since it was a Power Point presentation I had no idea how to get it on this site so I asked for help from son  Johnny.   He came up with the following link.   Please let me know if it works for you.


December 1st, 2012


I was so impressed with Leona Choy’s Christmas 2012 letter that I copied the whole thing onto  my blog! The woman, for heaven’s sake, is 87 years old and she bubbles forth words like a fountain and turns out books, one after another, like it’s no big deal. I am in awe of her literary talent and her productivity.   Her Golden Morning Publishing site is newly updated and actually quite cute!  Leona and I were both friends of blogger Barbara Curtis who died recently at the tender age of 64.   How could one not admire Barbara? The mother of 12, including four children with Downs syndrome, hippie turned Catholic, Montessori teacher, blogger par excellence with thousands of daily hits, a force for Christ, teacher, mother, encourager, — one has only to read the reams of comments after her sudden death to realize she was greatly appreciated in this life. And then there’s me. I just plug along, thankful that I can still blog in my 90th year, well aware that I do a mediocre job but hopeful that in the end I will leave something of me behind to help my progeny understand what made grandma tick.

We seem  to be always comparing ourselves with others.  We want to feel valued and feel we would be valued more if we were smarter, prettier, richer, or did things better than others.   A few days ago I posted “NO ARMS, NO LEGS. NOW WHAT?”  about Joni Eareckson Tada and Nick Vujicic  who live extraordinary lives without the use of arms or legs.  Who would read about them and turn to God and ask “Why not me?” Rather my response to their life stories was more along the lines of “Oh, thank you, God, for my arms and my legs and my seven children and my life thus far.” Thank you, thank you for my many blessings, for the many possible bad things that have not happened to me.

St. Therese of Lisieux was called the Little Flower because she was content to be God’s little flower if that was what God wanted her to be.  Some saints are splashy saints – they levitate, work miracles, have visions, etc., etc.  If you compared them with flowers, they would be giant canna lilies or colorful fragrant roses.  Did Therese fret, “Why not me?”  She was her own kind of saint. Whatever God’s plan was for her, so be it.     She imagined herself a ball that God sometimes played with, and sometimes tossed into a corner and seemed to forget about.  Therese would have said, “Whatever.”  God’s plan was OK with her.   A contemplative nun, St. Therese rarely left her convent and died at the age of 24.  Her fellow nuns considered her unremarkable.  Why then is she one of only three women to be named a Doctor of the Church?  She knew who she was,  the beloved daughter of a great God!

Mother Angelica (who, like me, has had her 89th birthday) is also a contemplative nun who during her active life began the Eternal Word Television Network and became famous as a Catholic teacher and leader.   Today she prays and  has not been capable of much more since her stroke in 2001.  It’s a cinch  she is not wasting time murmuring “Why me?   Why is Dorothy Vining still up and about!”  She knows she out-performed me long ago!

I was in my twenties when I first wrestled with the problem of how God  could be omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, and yet give us free will. I still find that a puzzle but like philosopher Mortimer Adler, who finally became a Catholic in his 90’s, I am content to call it a mystery and let it go.

“In God I Trust,” is a motto that I have lately come to appreciate.

Let God be God.



December 1st, 2012


Leona’s 2012 Advent and New Year’s Letter
I have chosen one of my recent posts (see below) from my blog, THE REST OF THE WAY, for this Seasonal Greeting. (See and my publishing web site:

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
composed this declaration which I wish to echo:

“God has created me to do Him some definite service.

He has committed some work to me

which he has not committed to another.

“I have a mission; I may never know it in this life,

but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain,

a bond of connection between persons;

He has not created me for naught.

“I shall do good—I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace while not intending it,

if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him.”

The above is exactly the statement of affirmation I tried to make when I wrote the following poem earlier this year. Both Newman’s declaration and my poem summarize what I have personally sensed since my childhood—not fully understood, sometimes doubted, often was amazed at, at times dug in my heels against—but always pondered in my knowing spirit as true.

Like the many facets of a diamond, this mission, this destiny, this purpose, this journey God has put me on for eight decades since my baptism as an infant, has had multiple reflections in its outworking. Step by step it is still being revealed as I keep marveling at how God leads me. In different seasons of my life the Lord has called me to walk diverse and unknown paths, “roads less traveled.” Sometimes my road has indeed become a bridge, sometimes a link in a chain, sometimes a bond of connection, sometimes a catalyst to enable God’s larger purposes to be fulfilled in my life and in the lives of others.

My response has been less than perfect at times because I “see through a glass darkly” as Saint Paul described it. Most of the time, however, my heart-stance has been to say an emphatic “YES, LORD!” My personal continuing “fiat” is “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to Your word.”

At times I’ve felt as if I am blindfolded and stumbling in the darkness because God has not spread His agenda for my mission plainly before me. Sometimes I’ve been afraid that, humanly speaking, everything has gone askew. I ask God’s forgiveness when I’ve demanded full light upon my path or been impatient and insisted He tell me the outcome in this mortal life. It’s hard to wait “Till Later” to find out.

Nevertheless, in the words of an old Christian hymn, “I will trust and obey, for there’s no other way.” So I will keep taking only the next step He reveals, continuing to do His work and keeping His commandments. Since God has always proved faithful, “Therefore, I will trust Him.”


Leona Choy

THE WIND has blown through my life

from infancy through all the changing years

propelling me

along the paths of time.

Sometimes gently whispering

Sometimes urgently redirecting me

altering my self-planned course

to thrust me

along new paths of time.

THE WIND blew unrecognized

through my innocent childhood years.

In youth’s impetuosity oft withstood

by the stubbornness of my self-will

as I stumbled

along my private paths of time.

In prime and senescent years

THE WIND continues to blow

lovingly, patiently

in spite of my resistant humanity.


Grant me the grace to live

this allotted span of earth-time

given me so munificently

to accomplish some ordained portion

of God’s Kingdom destiny

some mission to bring me

ultimately to behold His face

in Eternity and receive His words

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”


* THE WIND=The Holy Spirit

A brief overview of this year re: my writing and publication.

My book which Coming Home Network International published: MY JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF MORE:Evangelical to Catholic continues to be in demand. This year my newly published sequel: LIVING THE TREASURES IN THE LAND OF MORE:Discoveries of a New Catholic Christian has taken off well. I was privileged to co-author a book with a pastor friend in Canada: AGING JOYFULLY, recently off the press and going strong. I finished editing my book GOTHIC ARCHIE AND OTHER IMAGINEERINGS: FABLES OF GOD’S KINGDOM FOR GROWNUPS. These are allegories and parables, undecided about a publisher. I’m also well into shaping up SINGING ON THE SUMMIT: Finishing up with a Flourish, which is a sequel to my spiritual auto-bio Trilogy as above. (The first book of the Trilogy was my flagship auto-bio CZECHING MY ROOTS, still available.) At the end of last year I compiled another Anthology of my contemporary verse mostly for private circulation titled LATTER RAIN: WORDSMITHING VERSE IN THE LATE SEASON OF MY LIFE. Currently shaping up is CONVERSATIONS WITH JEFFREY: Dialogues about his life and growth in understanding his Christian Faith. This book grew out of the mentoring of my pre-teen grandson Jeffrey, now a teen, toward his Confirmation in our parish this past October. It is in 2 parts: pre-teen dialogues and early teen. I’ll seek a publisher or my own Golden Morning Publishing may pick it up.
So far, 4 of my books including the two LAND OF MORE titles are available on e Books. More to be added. I’ve also assisted several first-time authors to get their books published. I thank God for enabling me to keep writing ad majorem Dei gloriam—for the greater glory of God, not my own aggrandizement. Our extensive coverage Christian radio station SOUTHERN LIGHT GOSPEL MUSIC NETWORK, which we founded and of which I am still the president, is celebrating 26 years. This year we established a sister station, THE CROSS-FM on another frequency to broadcast contemporary Christian music 24/7.
AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, INC., the university campus ministry among Chinese university students and professionals in North America which we co-founded, is celebrating 50 years. And the CHINESE CHRISTIAN CHURCH we co-founded in Wash. D.C. is commemorating its 57th anniversary with several branch churches. Thank God for “fruit that remains” for God’s Kingdom.
I thank God that my several generations of family members are well and thriving and the number still stands at 4 adult sons, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grands.
Well, I’ve never been 87 before! It’s a new life adventure. Of course I face challenges of stamina and health, but I try not to sweat the small stuff—and I offer it up with the more major issues to the Lord to take care of. My times are in God’s hands. As a longtime lung cancer surgery survivor, the Lord has been generous and faithful to give me long life and sufficient breath to continue His Kingdom work.
An increasing number of my beloved friends and relatives have departed earth life this year but continue to be alive and rejoicing in God’s presence. I deeply miss their mortal touch and companionship.
I pray for each of you by name as I send this seasonal greeting. I would be delighted to hear what God is doing in your life and what I may pray for you. If you wish to pray for me, my priority prayer request is that I will continue to “obey the Lord fully” as Caleb was said to have done in the Old Testament throughout his life into advanced age, until I too will have fulfilled the destiny for which God has given me life. You may also write me by “snail mail” at 497 Devland Dr. Winchester, VA 22603 or phone me 540-877-1813 or email me or text me on my cell phone 540-398-6611 or SKYPE me or come to visit me–take your choice of communication! My blog site and web site are at the top of this letter. Of course I welcome you to order my books! Contact me for details.

Leona a.k.a. “Sal”—short for “SALmon.” I consider myself “God’s salmon still swimming/leaping upstream in life–only somewhat more slowly due to chronological factors.” (Go to my blog post as above for the enhanced article.)