Thursday, December 21, 2017

Joy, Prayer, Thanksgiving

  It was the perfect title for me to see today when I looked at the news. Pope Francis call to be joyful, have an attitude of gratitude and prayer.  Every day our peace is threatened with the news, sad, upsetting or even maddening. Yet here is Pope Francis asking us to be joyful for Christ is coming!
  Always remain in joy even when things are not going our way.  Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joy means we remain trusting in Christ that we are headed to Heaven, our home beyond this life. Joy doesn't mean we are always happy or overflowing with smiles and laughter, but it means that deep down in our souls, in our very beings we know God loves us and that gives us a lasting peace, a lasting happy that is called JOY. 
  Joyful people get upset and sad, yet then cannot remain that way because they know the sad that is in this life in only in this life. Joy brings our souls back up to the surface when life's sorrows and disappointments get us down. Joy bubbles up our thoughts and helps us remember that no matter what happens in our lives, God loves us and wants to help. 
  So this season and next year, live a life of joy and of thankfulness and prayer. Prayer will help keep joy by your side and being thankful always reminds us of who gives us the Joy we have.
  Merry Christmas! I love you!

Monday, October 30, 2017


So with only a few weeks to go, I've been talking to my grandbaby already much to the dismay of my daughter who doesn't appreciate when I talk to her child via the womb. Why?  Because, and I have to laugh, really hard, when I say, "Hey Baby!  Grammy loves you! How are you?" My dear little grandchild begins jumping and kicking her momma like crazy. She is so excited to hear her Grammy's voice!  I can't hardly help myself to 'see' her get so excited to hear me say, "I love you!"
  But my daughter is less enthused at times especially after a long day of Braxton Hick contractions and the baby stretching and thumping in an ever close binding space.  She'll stick her hand out with another hand on her belly and say, "Please, Mom, don't."   I just sigh and try to behave.  But then the imp in me takes over and I have to remind my own daughter that it was she who permanently bruised my lower right rib by her incessant kicking while SHE was in the womb.  I know it's a cheap shot to play, but hey don't I get something?  All I want to do is remind my grandbaby I love her even before she is born.  "There's plenty of time for that AFTER she's born, Mom," my daughter reminds me.  I chuckle and agree.  But as she gets ready to leave our house I can't resist one more, "Grammy loves you!" and I wrinkle my nose and smile sweetly at my daughter as she doubles over grunting once again getting kicked in the spleen, "And I love YOU too, sweetie!"   'Thanks Mom, love you too."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Little Ditty

I’ve been playing this song a lot lately. It’s not a song anyone would really know except its author. But I like it.  I like it not because it has wonderful lyrics; it’s just a melody with no lyrics. I love it not because it’s a beautifully orchestrated piece of art; it’s a simple melody played on a kiddy piano and ukulele.  I love it because of its simplicity. It reminds me of being a child playing one of those little toy pianos and the ukulele reminds me of Hawaii, a state I’ve never been too but have heard about and seen so much in photos. 

What this piece of music does for me is lift me up.  Hard times seem to come crashing in more and more these days, worries, anxieties and fears.  And this little simple song reminds me of peace and lightheartedness, much like hearing that first robin in the spring singing out his lungs because he’s just figured out how to build his first nest!

It reminds me that I need to rely on Jesus to get through my day, that I need to forgive those rushing around me from their angry honks, gestures, weaving in and out of traffic. It reminds me to smile when seeing a squirrel crossing the road overhead on high wires and actually praying that he makes it safely.

It reminds me of my children playing in the backyard when they were young and of me playing in my own backyard when I was young.   You can never be too old to remember those things and smile. 

Oh! Yes, and it reminds me to smile.  It lifts my eyebrows, moves my shoulders back and forth and waggles my head.   It gives me inspiration in a world that threatens to scare away all inspiration, creativity and joyfulness.

That’s why I love this song.  It reminds me of my kids and their playfulness and how I still need to be playful and fun and happy.  Thank you, little song…for being a very beautiful, inspirational piece of art for the cost of $1.29 which lifts my soul, makes me hum along, think happy and pray for the world.


‘Make It Shine’  by Sophonic Media

Thursday, October 12, 2017


‘Forgiveness is an act of the will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.’ Corrie ten Boom

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between St. Peter and Judas?  Both of them betrayed Jesus, yet only one sought out forgiveness and became a great leader and shepherd of the Church. Only one was humble enough to approach the Lord after the Resurrection and meekly say, “I do believe, Lord.” And Jesus forgave him by asking him three times, ‘do you love me?’

 The power to ask forgiveness is not talked about much in the news these days.  People yell and scream at each other, no body apologizes.  We hurt someone’s feelings, no body apologizes.  People think it’s their right to say what they want, to kill with words or guns and it’s their right to free speech to not worry about how it hurts another person.   It’s almost like apologizing has become like a plague we must avoid. It would mean we were wrong, that we have to lower ourselves, demean ourselves, and God forbid admit we might have been wrong.

 Yet when nobody apologizes, we die inside.  Little by little we become hardened and our souls darken, getting dirtier and it gets easier to do more wrongs and be more hurtful.

Do we think we have to beg to receive mercy?  All Peter did was answer Jesus question, the same question three different times asked by Jesus. ‘Peter do you love me?’

It does take humility to be forgiven or to ask forgiveness.  It takes even more fortitude and heart to forgive someone who hasn’t even said they were sorry, yet Jesus did that too right from the cross. ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’

 Some people do it too, without asking for an apology, without closing their hearts. They just forgive, because that’s what Jesus did.  Members of a church did it in South Carolina. They forgave a man who murdered nine members of their church community.  They forgave a man who had been so filled with hate that he killed nine people who had invited him into their bible study group.  Yet he received forgiveness.  I am positive these people in this church were still hurting, still grieving over the nine lost members, yet somehow they realized that by being like Jesus and giving forgiveness it would help them to heal.

Do we think we are better than Jesus when we don’t ask forgiveness, when we don’t forgive someone who has hurt us deeply?  Forgiveness is an action that has ramifications far beyond how it makes us feel. It’s like ripples in a pond when someone forgives another person.   It’s like the sun shining out following a tornado, or a bright colorful rainbow peeking out from the storm clouds to signal to the entire world that God is there and everything is okay.  Because someone forgave, and someone said they were sorry.

Good Will Always Win

As a mother of adult children in these days of civil unrest, natural upheavals and general mass confusion about what is safe and right in this world, I find myself turning again and again to our Lord to ask, how do I help my family and my neighbors to be safe?  How do I help souls get to Heaven?

 There is so much anger and shouting in our country right now, so many tears being shed, so many lives being upended by natural causes and  by a human lack of respect that sometimes I find myself scared of what each day may bring. 

  I’ve grown up in a life of faith, always secure that God loved me.  Sometimes I haven’t understood that even though God loves me, bad things may happen in my life to me or loved ones, but somehow I still know He loves me.  I know many people don’t feel that way. Maybe they’ve never been shown the love of a secure family life, had relatives and friends behave loving and caring. I was truly blessed.  As a lover of history,  I have read about the beginnings of our country and other countries.  Freedom always comes with a price.  The price is sacrifice, worry, anxiety and not having things perfect.  Politics change, people change back and forth,  good people hurt, bad people get ahead, but through all of the history of the world, one thing was always constant:  our Creator was always there, people, maybe not ALL people, but many people kept the light of faith alive.  Sometimes they were killed for it.  Sometimes they were enslaved because of it, sent to prisons, restricted in some way, but they still lived their faith.  Sometimes they sought out other new lands or countries to live in and not always found freedom there either. But they held strong. 

The point is, they didn’t give up knowing God loved them. And we cannot give up that knowledge either.  No one, not some random killer in a hotel room, not a rapist, not gangs of rioters,  angry mobs, underground drug rings, uncivil and unethical political leaders, no one can take away God’s love for you and for me.  When people ask where is God when this evil happens,  we need to answer, in those helping during those times.  God is in the people running to help those hurt, to help others escape. God is in the people who remind us that God loves us, and evil will never win.

Each day I wake and ask God to watch over my family and my friends. I ask that each of them always feel God’s love for them and I pray that knowledge helps them in their lives to not give in to believing evil can win. It cannot.  When we give in, evil flourishes and good people run away instead of running into the fight.  We must keep running into the fight each day, believing and knowing good will always win because God loves us.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fight Evil; Love Your Neighbor

  Evil, that's what is going on in this world and especially right now in our own country. We need to call it for what it is.  Totally evil instigated by Satan.  But we can fight evil. We can't stop it from happening but we can stop it from hurting our souls by praying and staying close to God.  There is a good reason the Blessed Mother is asking us to pray the Rosary every day. It helps us stayed centered on her Son and to focus on God and not our anger.  It's hard to not get angry about all the evil that is happening. And while our anger may be justified letting ourselves stay angry does not help anything at all, especially not own souls.  We can help ourselves as well as others by calming down and praying. Prayer is the best and most important thing we can do in a crisis. Not all of us are called to be First Responders nor are we in a place where we can physically help. But we ARE all First Prayer Responders.
  So remember to Fight Evil by loving your neighbor. Stop the hate and anger. Calm down. Pray for everyone affected by a crisis.  And Love Your Neighbor. Pray.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Good Night Lights!

Want some good news in the world?  Read about "Good Night Hasbro Children's Hospital" where the town of Providence RI joins in every night to assure the children in the hospital that people are caring about them and thinking of them!

Civility Still Matters

All of civility depends on being able to contain the rage of individuals  -   Joshua Lederberg

 Maybe contain is a strong word; keep at bay, reduce to a minimum, reduce, because at any one moment in this world there are things that cause us to lose our cool, and yes, maybe even have some rage in our lives. There are times when it seems impossible to expect all of humanity to not be raging at something, especially when wars are going on, the weather has caused a multitude of problems as well as other human beings not acting so, well, human. 

The thing to remember, in working on our civility, is that trying counts. None of us is perfect. We don’t have to be perfect. We leave that to God. But we are asked to try to be better people, to work on being civil toward each other.

 I can’t help but think, that as a Christian, reading and listening to the scriptures, that we are supposed to be focusing on that whole LOVE thing. Not the free love of sex with whomever, whenever, but the love of looking and listening to the world and knowing we are still on a journey to something better, that this is life is not all there is. 

We’re always being told that we need fame, fortune and we need it now. It is so easy to get sucked up in that pursuit. But I was listening to a Rascal Flatts tune the other night called, “Mayberry” and it reminded me too of days not long ago when life was slower, stores weren’t open on Sunday, you could sit outside and listen to the crickets and not be interrupted by the sound of loud leaf blowers, lawn mowers, your neighbor’s car stereo or perhaps worse of all your cell phone beeping.

Containing our rage or even just reducing it comes about by finding peace in our lives, having the strength to love everyone, and knowing that with all the bad things going on in our world, there is a better world we will enter someday. Look through your history books, people were always managing through horrible wars, leaders who went control crazy, people who made slaves of each other or debased them, hedonistic living. There were still people living with love and carrying on the spiritual aspects of life and helping others learn it.

Trying to be civil means holding on to that peace and happiness of knowing that God is always there. We always have Him to turn to even if elections don’t turn out the way we want or bad people abound and scare us, nature gets really crazy and destroys things.

Rascal Flatts Mayberry


Friday, September 15, 2017

A Rose is a Rose Unless

A rose is a rose unless it has September rain upon it and it becomes even more beautiful.  I'll try to remember that when rain is falling in my life  it has the possibility of helping me grow as a person more beautifully.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Butterfly Wrangler

This morning my job title extended again as I saw a butterfly dancing about in church during the opening song. He was enjoying touching the heads of the students before bounding into one of the stained glass windows and gadding about the back of church. I followed him over to the door leading to the exit and ducked my head while opening the door. Over my head he flew. Then he flitted patiently about the vesibule while I opened the door to the outside and out he went. He made my day! #butterflywranger #jobtitlesalwayschange #thatladyfromchurch

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Risk More and Learn From the Fall

"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical.  Expect more than others think is possible. " Cadet Maxim

…and be defiantly thankful!  Yes, thankful for the adversity in your life, when others put you down because you stick up for your moral values, be grateful for their taunting. When others ask you to join in something you know is not right, and you refuse, be grateful for the test.

For without adversity we learn nothing. Without testing, we fail. Without questions, faltering, or temptations we are falsely lead to thinking life is easy. We get spoiled. Then something comes along and knocks us flat on our behinds.

When I was in my twenties and thirties I thought if you just lived as you ought, everything should work out, be okay. If you are sick, you get well; if you get hurt it won’t be a lot. Now in my fifties, I finally see life is not about avoiding all those things. It’s about building your faith to the point that WHEN those things happen you will trust in God to see you through it.

Jesus was tempted by the devil to give up all his suffering and enjoy a kingdom here on earth. We too are tempted by the devil to the very same thing. Give up moral values, live temporarily in this life and get all everything you want, whether its greed, all the sex we want with whomever, all the drug taking, fast life choices, and never, ever paying any gratitude to the one Creator who put us here.

But Jesus didn’t take that bribe.  Jesus, while carrying a hundred pound cross, fell three times. He was God, why did He fall? Why didn’t angels just hold that up for him?  Could it be He was showing us how to get up every time we fall? He was showing us to always ask for God’s help when we fall?

While getting lashed with nasty bone crushing whips, Jesus hung on, he didn’t die on the spot, but waited for more horrors. He was physically nailed hands and feet to the cross to die, he didn’t give up until it was time, until he knew he had finished His mission on earth; to offer himself up as a sacrifice for our sin.

How can we hear the story of Jesus and not think of what he did for us? How can WE not do more for others, for ourselves, by living a moral, value filled life after what He did? We don’t want to be made fun of, yet He was. We don’t want to suffer, yet He did. And it was all for us, not one iota was for himself.

People made fun of him for risking more than what was safe, for caring more than others thought wise, for dreaming of His Father in heaven who knew and loved Him. And Jesus left behind eleven apostles whom He expected to carry on His Father’s church on earth and even charged  Peter, who had denied Him three times, with  the power to get people to heaven.

Moments In A Parent’s Life When You Get To Laugh

I love it.  Finally!  We have one child who is expecting her first child, which is also our first grandchild, another child who is in his first year of teaching and we will get to sit back and watch all those “moments in a parent’s life when you get to laugh.”  Otherwise known as “I told you so” or “wait till you have children of your own” moments!

Ever wonder if God has those moments all the time? I do.  Surely, the wonderful Creator who made us be able to laugh at ourselves, also enjoys that emotion?  Watching us go about our daily lives thinking we have things all together, He has to have a certain sense of humor don’t you think?  How else could He not just give up on us if He didn’t?

Just as parents must learn to finally ease up, stop nagging their children about things in life, God lets us come to him. We parents could learn a lot from His wise ways.

As parents, my husband and I were actually very lucky with our children. They didn’t have colic and give us sleepless nights looking for ways to calm them down and sleep.  Okay, we had one daughter who wouldn’t go to sleep unless one or both of us sat in the hallway until she drifted off.  Then there was the phone call from the principal at the school where our first grade son was attending who informed us that he would be serving a detention the following day for pulling the fire alarm.  Now that same son is a teacher at the same school and on his first day teaching sent us a picture of the that same fire alarm and said it was his first lesson to teach the kids not to touch it.  I can’t wait to see how that goes!

I am constantly trying hard not to take myself so seriously.  I don’t think I’m a horrible parent, yet each day I worry whether I taught my kids everything they needed to know. What I don’t realize is that they don’t have to know everything. They have to know who to trust or go to when they don’t know everything.  Isn’t that what our faith is about too? We may not know everything about faith matters but as long as we know we can go to God and give Him our worries, cares and “I don’t know anything about this matter” to Him, we’ll be okay.

So relax and let God guide you in His ways.  If you worry about every little alarm being pulled or dirt put in a baby’s mouth you’ll never laugh again.  And life is about laughing and joining God as He loves us all.



Monday, July 31, 2017

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear- Memories from last Christmas.

While it's the last day of July I am remembering this post from the week following Christmas when it was cold, dark and brisk one morning I entered church to go to Mass during the week.  It was perfect...

   It was very cold, the wind picked up the blowing snow and whisked it around the church door.  It was warm but dark and quiet inside.  Softly low voices began singing..."It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold..."
The nativity scene glowed from softly lit evergreen trees surrounding it and above the Star of Bethlehem glittered silently in the darkness.  Mary and Joseph kept careful watch of their baby boy, Christ the Savior joined by the animals and the shepherds.  The priest intoned the beginning words of the Mass and once again we are reminded why the Christ Child was here, to save us from our sins.

Preparing for a Wedding and other exciting times

So I discovered I never posted this update from February... it was too fun to miss... (okay must do something about my massive ego soon.)

I think I forgot about this post BECAUSE it was right before our daughter's wedding and then our son got married three months after I offer 'momma no brain' as my excuse.  You just wait...

So we are living the adventure of two weeks our youngest child is getting married! I still cannot wrap my head around that but it is happening no matter what.  In-between trying on dresses and getting everything together for the wedding, I've been de-stressing by knitting socks and crocheting a wedding blanket.
  I have to laugh at the wedding blanket because my very appreciative children are quick to point out that though they love the hand made things I make them, they are quite blessed with enough blankets at this point.  I figure you can never have enough blankets so I blithely keep making them more.  I should know better but I can't help but remember the huge knitted brown, crème and black blanket my husband's grandmother made us (or had someone make us...we've been married 34 years so my memory is a little sketch...) for our wedding and we still have it. I think it's still around mostly because it's made from itchy acrylic, the only yarn you could buy in the early 1980's and because it's other words it didn't get used much because of its size. It was made for two people. The color was popular in the '80's but that really doesn't bother me. It's better than puke sage green everyone loved then too.
  But I thought when my kids get married I'll make them a nice blanket for the happy couple. The first of our kids got married five years ago and their blanket has been stolen by the was a nice black and white striped number which went with their bedroom décor.  The blanket for this daughter is a gentle cream color which should go with everything except my soon-to-be son-in-law's black dog hair. 
  But hey, it's why I keep knitting and always need a new blanket.
  My fever craft right now is knitting socks...I LOVE knitting socks!!! I love the sock yarn I am using...

Beginnings of August

  What? did August get here so fast!  Yikes!  Summer always goes so fast after we get through the Fourth of July, but seriously August 1 is looking me in the face.  No!!!  And I don't even get summers off. 
  When I worked at the parish school office as secretary I LOVED MY SUMMERS off.  It was the time for me to get started on home projects that I couldn't get done on the weekends.  But ever since I began working in the parish church office, I no longer get summers off and yes...I need some cheese with my whine...I miss my summers.
  Well, with the whining over, I'll share the fun project I started a week ago when my daughter, Cait, told me she still loves elephants and wants to decorate the baby's room with elephants. Now, my usual knitting forays are limited to bears, scarves, hats and socks. So I had to hunt down a simple pattern to do the elephant but it was so worth it!  While I changed up the yarn, from sport weight to bulky because I like the look and feel of the bulky more, I love this pattern.

  But Elly, Cait already named the elephant, is turning out so cute!
Here are the parts all knitted and waiting to be assembled:

Here are two views of her head:

I think the cutest part so far is her nose!
And here is what she looks like waiting for her ears:
I am finishing up knitting the ears now and they are HUGE but so adorable!! She is going to be one very cuddly elephant! Just right to sit in on the rocking chair in the nursery!

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Family That Plays Together Stays Together

  Yes, yes I am the one that is forever using this quote: "The family that prays together stays together." It's on all the newsletters I write for teens in our parish and even in our church bulletin at times.  But I also like this quote, "The family that plays together stays together," because these days it's rare to see a family all sitting down together for the evening meal much less playing in the backyard together.  But I'm here to tell you that is what your family needs: to play together as well as pray.
  As my husband and I were raising our three kids it was important for us to also play with them. This meant we built one of those wood playhouses in our backyard when our oldest son was only five years. old.  We were out there with him and his two little sisters, the youngest only a newborn playing on the slide, the swings and teeter totter.  Then it was on to putting the oldest two in the "Little Red Wagon" and pulling them around the yard while I followed with the baby.  We made play time important with our children.  We taught them to ride bikes and when everyone could ride fairly well, we all rode bikes on our town's bike trail.  We went to the city park and played on the 'big' swings, me holding the baby on my lap and my husband pushing the other older two on the swings.  In the summers we bought a wading pool and I spent many summer afternoons home with my kids playing in that pool.
  As the kids got older we went for hikes and older still we went to the beach and walked miles and miles of beach playing in the water, sand and collecting shells. We also made sure they knew how to swim well taking swimming lessons and we drove to the river where I spent many teen years floating on inner tubes on a hot relaxing summer day down the Current River and exploring the hiking trails behind the springs.
  My point to all this is my husband and I made it an important part of raising our kids playing with them.  We didn't do organized sports, except for martial arts which we did together as a family. Playing was almost as important to our family as praying.  And to this day when we all get together we share our memories of playing together.  Now as they begin their own families we joke about all the board games we have downstairs and how we'll be outfitted as grandparents for games!  And my husband and I are still game to go floating down a river or two with the kids and their kids.  It's important your children see you playing with them. It's the time you spend together that is important and makes your children well rounded.
  While it may take a few more aspirins to keep us going these days, my husband and I are always up to playing a pick up game of football in the backyard or horseshoes. It doesn't matter what the game is, what matters is we have fun playing together!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yummy Yarn

So technically I have a stash of yarn.  But also to my credit, I am constantly using the yarn in my stash so does that count as stashing?  I don't stash yarn to look at it. I use it!  And as you can see here my main yarn usage is socks and bears.

Oh wait, I did have a phase baby boxing gloves for my fitness trainer daughter who has clients expecting babies!!

And also a baby blanket for my other daughter who is expecting!  This is actually the first version of the baby blanket. At first I thought all the little extra yarn overs and holes would make it pretty...

then I realized those were place were tiny fingers would get caught, so I ripped it all out and started over again.  Now it is a nice even blanket which will have a border of satin ribbon all around the edges because my own babies and toddlers LOVED to rub the satin as they went to sleep every night. So that was the most important part of my blanket!  I even found orange satin to match the yarn colors!

In between I knit a couple of cuddly bears...

I bought so much of the baby blanket yarn I was able to make a pair of matching socks for my daughter.

 And other socks...
Knitting socks is a great stress reliever for me...some people think that sounds weird, like knitting socks would stress you out more...but once I learned how to hold 5 double pointed needles together and knit it was easy.  Granted I started several years ago trying to figure that out and suddenly last fall I picked up a set of dpn's again and voila!  It suddenly made sense and I was off knitting socks!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mom the Postmaster

  For centuries, mothers have been the disperser of news.  If you wanted to know what was going on in the family, mom was the one to ask.  There's no official title or assignment for this job. It seems it would just happen into the nurturing laps of any mom who cares about what is going on in her family. That would fit most mothers.  Mothers keep tabs on their children. It begins with the first stirrings of kicks and elbows in the womb. "Ooph, she is active today, she just rolled over onto my bladder." Mom will tell anyone who will listen.
   It continues as a baby is born, begins eating solids and walking. Moms just keep mental notes of all achievements and unfortunately sometimes bad behaviors, and share them with anyone willing to listen or ask. 
  Generations of mothers collect news from their husband, children, extended family and friends and dispense tidbits of needed information out to family members.  Sometimes moms can get a little too generous in their news gathering skills and this can lead to gossip which a good mother needs to guard against. But for the most part, mothers are passing along words of wisdom learned from their own mothers and grandmothers and this child's experience along to the next siblings who could learn from the lesson.
  In my own family I recall the many letters my grandmother would write to my own mother about how all my aunts and uncles and cousins were doing.  The letter was usually three or four pages long, written on that small letter writing pad of long ago, smaller than a stenographer page. It would always amaze me how she could write about my mom's 10 siblings and their families and only contain it to 3-4 of those small pages.  I mean that was over 100 people she was in charge of. But my grandmother was very German; concise, not gossipy and she got to the point.
  My own mother was not so much the letter writer, but the phone was her ally.  She kept and still keeps my siblings and myself abreast of all going on in our lives by calling or rather, we have to call her to get the scoop on what is going on.  Whether illness, travel, children's events, my mother is usually pretty on top of the news which is really good considering she is going on 85 and has four children, four in-laws families and 20 grandchildren,  three grandchildren in-laws, and a great grandchild on the way.
  As a mother myself of 31 years, I have dabbled in writing news, phoning and texting news to my kids.  My family has a group text we pass along messages all the time as well as photos and humor.
  The biggest similarity of all these generations of mother news gathering is the prayer chain. It's also the most important aspect of this communication; to ask all the other kids to pray for a certain child and/or their family at certain times of distress, health issues, or whatever.  We all know that the group prayer has an enormous impact on each of our lives.  None of us could face impending disaster or life decisions without knowing the rest of our family was praying for us.  It's funny though because while it doesn't seem right for any one of us to ask for prayers from each other, all we have to do is say something to mom and the prayer request goes out from there.  It's just understood that's how it works.
  As my own mother gets older, there are some facts that sometimes get jumbled up with my sisters and my brother and me. We have come to figure out when that happens a well timed phone or text message is needed to clear up things.  We don't mention to my mom when this happens but just take it as an endearing aging foible.  Recently my mom fell and suffered a very minor stroke and spent time in the hospital.  Needless to say this upset the news balance. My brother and sisters and I had to begin the habit of checking in with each other instead of asking mom for the news.  It really made each of us stop and think about how important it is we keep up communication with each other. 
  With that said, my cousins and I are discovering the same thing. As aunts and uncles age and begin their trip to heaven, we are left with less and less news sources for what's going on in the extended family. While I dislike social media there is a very good side of things like Messenger for getting the word out about an aging aunt or uncle needing prayers or whose child is getting married.
  Such is technology.
  But the fact remains, that mothers are the receptacle of not only bringing children into the world but of keeping those same children informed and reminding them to pray for each other.  I cannot imagine what life would be like without the prayer chain in our families.  My husband lost his mother almost ten years ago, and while his dad does his best at keeping up on the news, my sisters-in-law have begun texting my husband and myself when prayers are needed for different things.  These communications in families are important and even more important is the message that we need to pray for each other. 
  So thank you Mom for bringing us the message. Not only of the family news, but of the Lord's Good News through prayer.

Friday, July 7, 2017


  Forgiveness is an act of will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

  The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do.

  Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man, was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him... Jesus I cannot forgive him.  Give me your forgiveness...and so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pray For Us Maria Goretti

   Today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a young girl who though she had been assaulted, knifed and eventually would die of her wounds, forgave her attacker just before she died.  Her story is a wonder to those of us who harbor wounds and have a hard time forgiving such evil in our own society.
  I am one of those who struggles with the forgiveness of that similar sin. 
  We all have things stuck inside our hearts we have a hard time forgiving.  Small wounds are easy to forgive unless they build up over time and go unnoticed by us. Those small wounds can become larger and eat away at us inside causing us growing unrest, anger and not feeling forgiving.
  But the large wounds, the crimes committed against us, the ones that are right in your face from the start are, because they are large, are very, very hard to forgive.  Yet if left intact, if we do not deal with the journey of forgiving those sins, they attack us over and over again drawing poison into our very beings.  We must forgive. But how?
  I don't have answers. I am still struggling with forgiving such a thing. But today, the feast of St. Maria Goretti, who became a saint not because she refused to have sex with the neighborhood boy, but because she forgave him while she suffered from his assault, his knifing her repeatedly. She forgave him.  She was somehow able to forgive this wretch of a human being. She could forgive this boy who had no problem treating another human being so vilely; she forgave him.  She forgave him as she died.  She left this world bearing no ill will. And that is why she is a saint.  I pray for her intercession in my own heart to be able to be so forgiving.

Dear Saint Maria Goretti, your heart was so full of mercy, that you gladly forgave your assassin, and prayed that he might be saved; intercede for me before the Lord, Whom you now behold face to face. Ask Him to pour His grace into my soul so that I may always be ready to imitate Jesus as you did. I choose you as my friend this day and I ask you to accompany me my whole life long. In honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and in the imitation of your example, I forgive all who have ever hurt me or who desired my suffering, and I ask pardon of all against whom I have sinned. Through Christ Our Lord,  Amen

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Winding Down With Yarn

  I just have to laugh. I look at my email and see notices from several different yarn stores, knitting and crocheting places all telling me how I can learn to knit faster, crochet quicker.  Why do I knit or crochet in the first place?  Well, yes it is to get something nice out of it, but mostly it's a de-stressing thing for me.  I sit and begin knitting and my stress level goes way down...I relax and knit. I don't worry what my knitting looks like, there's a missed stitch here or there that's okay. The point is I instead of taking up smoking, or smacking gum or stress eating I knit...and knit...and knit.
  I don't want to go faster...I want the slow rhythmic pull of the yarn; the act of pulling off a loop onto my needle, picking up the next stitch, wrapping the yarn around that stitch and slipping it off and doing that all over again is what lowers my shoulders, helps me breathe deeply and think only of my yarn. 
   So I don't want to go faster. In fact they could tell me some ways of becoming more relaxed as I knit or crochet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Compassion Without Indulgence

   How do we teach our children to respect others while not giving up the values we have tried to instill in them?  If you only look at our country's media you would think we no longer had any values beyond indulging ourselves and our children in everything.  Teaching our children to be respectful of others, tolerant of other people's beliefs and cultures has suddenly turned into the media telling us we must accept everything as right and valued.  But there is a difference between someone being made fun of or ridiculed and indulging their every whim.
  As a parent you never want your child to be made fun of or to lack in friendships. Yet more and more we see parents indulging their children's feelings or desires, whether it's actually doing their homework for them, or insisting the teacher or administration is wrong about academic standards or discipline or encouraging them towards their transgender feelings at an age when they are really too young to have those feelings.  Instead of guidance, parents are becoming 'friends', instead of leaders, parents are becoming activists, instead of role modeling a faith filled life, they are throwing up hands, giving into demands and staying home from faith activities that could actually help them grown and raise their children.
  It's not easy to be a parent. It is hard today, it was hard yesterday and it will continue to be hard because we're human. It's why God created marriage because it takes a mom and dad to raise kids. Yes, it also takes other family members, grandparents, friends, community but mostly we've forgotten it takes God.
  We shove Him into the background.  But God is there to lead parents in their modeling of a value based life.  Jesus showed us how to respect other people without indulging them. He was considerate of the sinner, yet encouraged he or she to go and sin no more.  Parents must to the same thing. Parents are nurturers, not indulgers. Parents are role models, not activists.  Parents are supposed to try to lead their children to God, not give them excuses to stay away from Him.  Parents need our prayers.

Monday, May 15, 2017

And We Laughed!


   Many years ago, when our kids were younger and still at home and we had family meals, we would get to talking about this or that.  Sometimes we would veer off onto a subject from the news that made everyone sad or upset so to get everyone back on the happy track one of us would blurt out, “and we laughed!”   And we did!  Because life is like that, one moment there are sad and unhappy events, but we always have to look on the bright side of things and remember to laugh!

   Living your faith with true joy means doing the same!  We need to remember to laugh when the devil is trying to scare us into being paranoid, or into thinking God is not here with us. He loves to sow doubt and fear in our lives.  But if we remember to laugh, it reminds us that our faith is about spreading the Good News, not the Sad News, not the Bad News, but the Good News!
   My family has expanded now to include two son-in-laws and a daughter-in-law and a grandbaby on the way and it’s easy to watch the news and be frightened of the bad things in the world. What will my kids do about this war or that evil? What will happen to our grandchildren as they grow up?
   But having faith gives us an edge, or a cheat sheet to life.  We know that in the end, God has us all in His Hands. We know that if we stay faithful to Him, nothing on this earth can keep us from him.   I agree with  St. Paul who says in Romans, Chapter 8:   “ I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39
So live your faith with joy!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hold On Tight!

original poster by Victor Baldwin 1971

 I feel just like this kitten from a motivational poster from 1971. It has been quite a week at the Simmons' Casa.  Last week as we were preparing for our son's wedding, our area of the state witnessed some major flooding.  When the interstate between St Louis and Cape Girardeau closed, our California daughter and her husband had no way to get from the airport to us! So they had to fly a small airline after getting off in St Louis.  My daughter will tell you it was a very, very small airplane.  There were only 4 passengers on the plane and it was a very, very windy day so they flew sideways most of the 30 minute flight.  Green around the gills, we picked her up at our local airport just in time for her to help me decorate for the rehearsal dinner we were hosting.   We ran with a Cinco de Mayo theme since it was on May 5th and had a taco bar. It was a lot of fiesta!  Saturday the rains were gone and it was a beautifully sunny day as  we were witnesses to the wedding of our son and beautiful daughter-in-law and the beginning their life together. Afterwards they held the reception at their home and we enjoyed each other's company, wonderful food and dancing out on the lawn! Joyous!

Then we changed gears as we helped my mom pack her house to move across town to a smaller duplex. 45 years of memories in a two story home take a lot of time to pack and reminisce about. But my two sisters and my brother were the mainstays of the packing and preparing and tomorrow the movers come. Wow, they did an awesome job!

In the mean time, our youngest daughter who got married in February is expecting! It's our first grandchild and we are all thrilled.  She is just now going through all the fun early pregnancy issues so I keep saltines near by for her!  She and her husband recently signed a contract on a house, their first and we got to take a tour of that and see what needed to be worked on before they move in just a couple of weeks. They have a huge yard and for that they'll need a working lawn mower, lots of paint needed inside and maybe some new flooring and a lot of baby proofing!

Our daughter from California spent several days after the wedding with us for a really great visit and time for her too to see her sister's future home and also Grandma's house before the move. It was an emotional time but we're happy for my mom.  There was a lot of "I remember this!" as she and my youngest daughter moved around the packing boxes and picked out little mementos to keep.    Meanwhile back at our house the girls found the tubs of baby clothes I had packed away over 20 years ago. It was time to ooh and ahh all over again as we all marveled at how very little babies are when first born, teeny tiny shirts and shoes.  While my California daughter and her husband were here, they put a contract on a home in California and got it, so now they are also planning a move a few blocks from where they live out there.

Last night, my husband and I waved goodbye to everyone as children headed to their homes. It was suddenly quiet in the house and a little lonely. It seems everyone is in the moving spirit around us as we looked around our own home of 25 years. Our home has seen its changes. We added on a family room and bedroom about 15 years ago. This home has changed in so many ways, moving rooms around, the living room has become the dining room, the downstairs family room has become my husband's office and game room. The colors change, the flooring too but it's always home to us. It's still the right size and shape for our needs.  And right now faith is the only constant in our lives as we try to hang onto the Lord like the kitten in the photo.  We know He holds us and our children in the palm of His Hand.  Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Be Not Afraid!

  Last night my husband and I happened to stumble across one of the most motivating, inspirational films we've seen in a long time.  It suddenly appeared on Netflix May 1, 2017 and we were riveted to the television.
The film is Liberating A Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism.  Now I tend to be a bit cynical of religious films just because so many are well intentioned, but have no creativity beyond showing pictures, badly shot video and no graphics.   I have to eat my words when it came to this one.  Current Catholic film makers are learning by leaps and bounds what it takes to capture an audience, especially an audience that is young, and who stops only momentarily to acknowledge information. That audience will not be disappointed by this film.
   Liberating A Continent takes you on a quick journey through JPII's life.  Now I remember being in my first year of college when he was elected. In fact I still remember working as a student worker in the Admissions office of the college and walking into the office between classes that day and my supervisor looking up at me and saying flatly, "Your pope is dead."  She wasn't one for mincing words. I was stunned and when I got home found out more about John Paul I dying only days after being elected. We had watched the Papal Elections on television at home and were thrilled to be able to see the proceedings and the white smoke when Albino Luciani was elected. And now only 33 days later he was dead?   We watched at home as the cardinals again got together to elected Karol Wojtyla, an unknown cardinal from Poland. Unknown at least to us Missourians in the United States.
  For the next 25 years I loved this Pope who told us young people to "Be not afraid." Turbulent times were the norm in Europe and the Eastern Block. And although we had a few fears about nuclear war and communism growing up, actually it was the violence in our own country in race riots, abortion being made legal and the whole sexual revolution we were nervous about.
   John Paul II reassured us as young people,  he was reassuring as I became an adult, got married and began having children. He was always looking for ways to connect with the world at large and especially with young people. He was active and engaging and knew how to love the world.  He also knew how to work about governments who ignored their people. He reached out to people and made them feel important. He made me feel important and helped me instill that in my own children.
  It's worth a watching so look for it online where you can either purchase the DVD or if you have Netlfix or those other streaming versions, it is well worth!

Liberating A Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism
Carl Anderson - Exec. Producer
David Naglieri - writer
Joe Kraemer; music composer
Jim Cavesiel - narrator
George Hosek - director of Photography
Marc Boudignon - Editor

"As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live"

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stay Calm and Call Your Mom!

Have you ever noticed that when you have big exciting news you look for another person to tell that will get almost as excited as you do?  Growing up that person for me has always been my mom.  I knew whatever I told her good news wise, she was going to be just as excited as I was, maybe even more! It didn’t matter whether it was getting an A on a paper in school, getting engaged to my husband, having ALL of our kids (she got excited over each and every one!) I always knew I could count on my mom to share my joy.

She was always my confidante too, listening when I needed a shoulder to cry on, understanding how I felt, and knowing what to say.  She’s always been my rock; in life and in faith. 

As we approach Mother’s Day in May, I ask you to take another look at your own mother.  Not all mothers are the same, they don’t all react in the same way as mine did, but the woman who bore you, and raised you is your mom and has a vested interested in everything that happens to you.  This year, not only am I blessed to share Mother’s Day with my own mom, but I have a daughter who is expecting her first child, so three generations of us get to celebrate motherhood.  I am blessed.  There is also another mother who watches over us too, Jesus’ mom.  She is everyone’s mother as Jesus made her when he said from the cross to John, “This is your mother.”  He wasn’t just talking about John, but all of us, the rest of the generations. He knew we ALL need a mom in life.  And even if our earthly mother isn’t with us anymore, our heavenly mother is always near.  And of course, she is whispering to our own mothers, whether they are in heaven or on earth,  what we need.  She is the ultimate mother of all.  

So when life is exciting or getting you down, remember to “stay calm and call your mom.”  She is always there for you!

Easter Forgiveness

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, looking down he doesn’t see any of his apostles. John was there with his Mother, but nobody, not even Peter was brave enough to be there at this death.  Yet Jesus could still say, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”  How awful would it be if all your friends left you at the moment you were dying?  Can you imagine leaving your family member or friend when they had been wrongly accused and were sentenced to death? Where were all those people who petition the court and ask for a stay of execution when Jesus needed them?

Of course we don’t live in those times, in the United States we have the freedom to speak up and demand justice.  The Jews, even those loyal to Jesus did not have that freedom. 

So what excuse do we give for not forgiving someone who has wronged us? Maybe it’s a minor hurt but it could be a huge life changing hurt.  Can we be as forgiving as Jesus?  I think about hurts in my own life and realize sometimes it has taken me a really long time to forgive.  There’s a hurt I am nursing right now that I am having to work really hard on forgiving.  And what happens when someone wrongs us and doesn’t even ask for our forgiveness?  You may have people like that in your life too. 

Easter reminds us that even these people have to be forgiven.  Most of the Jews that brought Jesus before Pilate didn’t say they were sorry, at least not before his death.   But he forgave them as well as the sins we are committing right now while he hung on the cross in excruciating pain.

Help me Lord to forgive, especially in this season of Easter. Let me learn from you how to forgive. I may not yet forget, but I know I must forgive so all my sins will be forgiven by you when I come Home.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Light and Joyfullness

   "Light and joyfulness are joined at the hip, since light-hearted people are optimistic, cheerful and happy. When people such as these find themselves in dark situations, the inner light seeping out of them is as reassuring as the brilliance of a flashlight in a blackout.  In all great spiritual traditions, the Divine Mystery while known by countless holy names is also universally known as Light. Light hearted people then are God-hearted people and only the God hearted people leak God.  Since they don't generate their own light, their luminosity never dims regardless of how dark or dismal are the eclipses of daily events."
  "What gives comfort to those who are burdened is simply a full-hearted listening to their laments over their sad situation. A wise listener knows that when someone is burdened by misfortune, his or her greatest need is simply to talk about it and to be heard. Non-advice-giving listening heals by being supportive and sympathetic. Listeners rotate their attention away from themselves so as to fully focus on the other person's needs. "
                                                                                     (excerpt from "Chasing Joy" by Edward Hays)

Don't Forget to Smile in Hope!

Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 04:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Pope Francis, one of most needed virtues of modern time is hope, which is something he said must never be abandoned no matter how hard life gets, and which is often expressed in the simple act of a smile.

Referring to the “dramatic moment” of Israel’s exile in the desert, Pope Francis said Dec. 7 that this time was especially hard for the people because they had lost everything, and felt “abandoned and without hope.”

The desert is a difficult place to live, he said, but noted that it is precisely inside the desert that the people of Israel are able to walk in order to return “not only to their homeland, but to return to God, and to hope and smile again.”

“When we are in darkness and difficulty the smile doesn’t come, but there is the hope that teaches us to smile on that path to find God,” Francis said, noting that one of the trademarks of those who break away from God is “the absence of the smile, the smile of the hope of finding God.”

Perhaps these people know how to “have a good laugh” or make jokes, but they are missing the smile that only God knows how to give, the Pope continued.

Life, he said, “is often a desert, it’s hard to walk in it, but if we entrust ourselves to God it can become beautiful and wide like a highway.”

“It’s enough to never lose hope, it’s enough to continue to believe, always, despite everything,” he said, noting that often when we find ourselves in front of a child, “there is a spontaneous smile because a child is hope.”

“Let us also smile even if it was a difficult day, because we see the hope.”

Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims present for his Wednesday general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

After concluding his yearlong catechesis on mercy during the Jubilee, Francis began a new series on Christian hope, which he noted was timely given the fact that he started it during the Advent season.

Hope, he said, is needed “so much in these times that appear so dark, in which at times we feel lost in front of the evil and violence that surrounds us, in front of the pain of our brothers and sisters.”

Noting how many can feel lost, discouraged and even “powerless” in front of a darkness that seems like it will never end, the Pope stressed that “we mustn’t let hope abandon us, because God with his love walks with us, he doesn’t leave us alone,” but has instead “conquered evil and opened to us the path of life.”

Francis pointed to the words spoken by Isaiah in the days’ reading, taken from Chapter 40 of the Book of Isaiah when he prophet offers words of comfort and urges the people to prepare the way of Lord in the wilderness.

Pope Francis said that as a Father, God consoles his children by “raising up comforters” who are tasked with encouraging the people by announcing that their tribulation and pain is over, and that their sin has been forgiven.

 “This is what heals the afflicted and frightened heart,” he said, adding that for the people, consolation begins with the possibility of walking along the path God carves out for them in the desert, which is a “new path, rectified and viable” which allows them to return to their homeland.

The people to whom Isaiah speaks were living “the tragedy of exile,” but now hear that they will be able to return to their homeland on a wide and level road, without the obstacles that often make the journey “arduous,” he said.

Preparing this path, Francis said, “means to prepare a path of salvation and liberation from every obstacle and stumbling block.”

When Isaiah says that he is the voice “of one crying out in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord,” the Pope noted that it’s a voice that seems to be crying out in a place where “no one is listening” and which mourns “the loss owed to the crisis of faith.”

However, he stressed that the true story is not the one made by the powerful who are seen by the world, “but rather the one made by God together with his little ones.”

Zechariah and Elizabeth were elderly and “marked by infertility,” and Mary was a young virgin betrothed to Joseph, while the shepherds who met the infant Jesus “were despised and didn’t count for anything,” the Pope observed.

“It is the small ones, made great by their faith, the little ones who know how to continue to hope,” he said, adding that it is they who are able to transform “the desert of exile, of desperate loneliness, of suffering, into a level road on which to walk to meet the glory of the Lord.”

“Let us therefore teach hope, let us look forward faithfully to the coming of the Lord and whatever the desert of our lives, it will become a flowery garden.”