Showing posts with label traditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traditions. Show all posts

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday (Reposted from 2008)

I remember asking once when I was a kid what was so "good" about Good Friday. From my kid perspective it seemed that it was bad Friday. We had to fast and eat no meat. Usually we went to church and had to be really quiet and prayerful for what seemed like hours and hours. The central theme of the day was that someone was brutally killed, murdered really. That someone was God, so it didn't make any sense to me. It seemed like the very worst of days so I couldn't see calling it Good Friday.

I don't remember what I was told when I asked why it was called Good Friday. Obviously, I wasn't able to grasp the answer or maybe there was no answer. The question has stuck with me and I asked myself today. Why is it called Good Friday, when everything that is commemorated on this day is so awful?

It is fitting that we fast and control our eating today. It is right that we spend some time in church or at least some time in prayer. It is a solemn day, a holy day. It was a sad day in human history, that we did this to God. That I did this to God.

Good Friday marks the day we were rescued. The day that our salvation was put into motion. Without Good Friday we would be nothing, have nothing to look forward to in eternity. Jesus saved us by His death. That makes it a very good Friday for us all. It is Good Friday because without it we are nothing. Because of it, we are God's own children.

Monday, November 19, 2012

T-Minus 3 Days Until the Giving of Thanks

Yikes! I have school today.  In the wisdom of my school district I now have the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off.  I don't know what I did without that day.  One of the teachers assistants who wasn't here 2 years ago when we worked the Wednesday before Thanksgiving said on Friday, "I don't know why we don't have the whole week of Thanksgiving off."  I will take Wednesday.

But, I am making lists and planning things and cleaning.  Houseguests overnight and the Thanksgiving feast.  That is a lot of prep work.  And every year I think, "This might be the last one with my mom."  And one of these days that will be the case.  Unless she outlives me.  Her greatgrandmother lived to be 101 before there were any high blood pressure medications or even antibiotics.  That lady died in 1925.  She must have been one strong cookie.

It is hard to be the old working lady hosting the feast.  I like to cook, but the cleaning and preparations wear me down.  Today is the last real prep day before the cooking begins. Yikes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallow's Eve

Tonight all the little saints will roam the neighborhood.  I have such fun with them.  I ask them why they came to my door on such a cold evening.  I ask them for a joke.  I comment on their costumes.  And I bless them.  Because roving saints in training need lots of blessings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

I wouldn't let the Thanksgiving weekend go without a single post.  But, I will limit the main event to a single post.
After dinner we played cards.  The photos are not in order chronologically.  Maybe by order of importance, to judge by the faces of the players.

My son must be explaining to everyone how to play the game.  When I partnered with him later we beat my mom and brother 2 out of 3 games.

Sis and I always have cameras in our hands when we take pictures of each other.  Mom is doing well.

My Thanksgiving centerpiece.

This was the food on the serving table.  I pulled the chairs away so that the cats would not have a feast whilst we were eating in the other room.

This was the weather on Thanksgiving 2011.  Temps were in the 60s.  There was so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alabama Trip Part Whatever, All Saints Edition

I am such a stylish and well planned blogger I managed to hold off the place we visited until All Saints Day and it is sooooo appropriate for this day.  With part of the day on Saturday before we headed for home, we drove down to Hanceville, AL.  Hanceville is a small town south of Cullman.

Out there in the middle of no where, Mother Angelica built a Shrine.  The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is out there in the midst of nothing else.  It is a big church and shrines and huge gift shop.  We decided to go down there to pray for hubby's mom.
The grounds were massive with an intentional medieval feel. The gift shop, directly across the way from the church looked like a castle with suits of armor.

Mother Angelica was called to build this when she was in South America and a statue of the Child Jesus spoke to her and asked for a shrine.  I could quibble about this except that Mother was able to raise the money and have the place finished in 5 years.  Divine intervention would be the most plausible explanation.

The place was nearly deserted when we were there.  It was set up to handle a crowd.

The entrance to the church was quite grand.  The inside was beyond lovely and expensive, but Mother Angelica has forbidden photos within and I didn't want my camera taken away. So I have no evidence of that.

I was glad that I saw it.  I am not sure that I am ready for the Communion rail again.  We decided to get moving toward home rather than stay for the noon Mass that was offered.  We had miles to go before we slept.

But, of all the places that I have been in the past year, I thought this Shrine was the place for All Saints, because when the Saints Go Marching In....I bet it will be even grander than this place.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory

I grew up hearing them talk about The War.  The War linked them in ways that were both spoken and unspoken.  The War was the common experience of their generation.  My dad was in the Army Air Corps.  A couple of uncles were in the Navy.  They saw the world and came home different people.  They were men who had seen things.  They didn't say WWII or World War II, they said, "The War."

They went and they came home.  They accepted that some didn't and that they probably got lucky.  My dad was color blind and had bad teeth and ended up scrubbing out of the officer school that probably would have landed him on the beach at Normandy.  Instead, he guided planes as they landed in England up near Cambridge.  He listened to the putt putt of the bombs that would fly over at night.  So, the bad luck that prevented him from becoming an officer, was the good luck that preserved his life because many of those young officers, those 90 day wonders, never came home from that beach in Normandy.

When the War was over he sailed home on the Queen Mary.  He went back to college on the GI Bill because he couldn't get a job right away.  He married and had some kids (including me) and made a life just they way they all did, those GIs.  My dad passed away almost 30 years ago and I haven't heard the stories of The War in a long long time.  But, when I think of Memorial Day and the soldiers in the War who didn't come home, I give thanks that my dad came home and lived and loved.  I praise God for giving us men (and women) with the courage to serve.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My hubby and I just got back from the Eucharistic Chapel where he goes to pray the Rosary every Wednesday at seven.  We have taken to praying the Rosary together most nights. But tonight I went over with him.  This is the best thing we have ever done, praying the Rosary together.  Well, praying together every morning is good too.  The prayer we do together has strengthened our marriage and our own individual commitments to God.

All that praying together wasn't easy to get started.  We didn't pray together for longer than we have prayed together.  At first it was awkward and each of us resisted giving up our time, and uniting in prayer.  It was really hard at first to pray together every morning.  But, it gets easier with practice.

And I share this because if 5 years ago I had read this, I would have said, that is great for those holy-oly people but my hubby would never agree to it.  We don't have time and how would we do it.  I could have found a million excuses.

And today it is the best thing about my marriage and my life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Memories--Okinawa

Dateline, Okinawa, Japan, 1981
Moose's second Christmas was spent in Japan.  We had a real tree that was shipped from Washington state and was so dead that it was a fire hazard before we brought it home.  But, decorated there in the picture, it doesn't look so terrible as I remember it.  We displayed all the gifts so that we could show the grandparents.

The early days as a Navy wife living far from home were the worst.  Nothing prepares you for the isolation and loneliness.  Although today with internet and better phone services things probably aren't as bad.  It took a letter two weeks to get home and then two weeks to get back if they answered right away.  A phone call cost $35 a minute and BigBs salary was nothing compared to today.  We just couldn't afford to call. 

But, I learned to make friends with the other spouses and I learned to rely on them like sisters and to be there for them as they were for me.  As a couple we learned to keep the traditions that were important to us even if there were only two or three of us eating a turkey with all the trimmings.  We made new traditions.  We learned to appreciate the place where we landed and to try to see as much and learn as much as we could about it. We learned, I learned, to measure what was really important and not to size things up by the things I missed.

That first Christmas in Okinawa was about the worst because I hadn't figured out those things yet, but I learned.  And it got better.  It really did.  I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't been there.  And isn't the Moose cute?  We won't talk about my unfortunate striped top. LOL.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Don't Forget Your Tuesday Treasures Tomorrow

Join me tomorrow for Tuesday Treasures.  Grab the logo from the sidebar and leave a comment after you post.  We will come around and leave cookies on your blog.  If it is a treasure to you, it is treasure to us all.  Catch you tomorrow!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Memories

This was Christmas 1980.  I wonder if 6 month old Moose took the picture?  Everybody else is accounted for.  In 1980 starting from the left this was Ned's first wife Candi who died of breast cancer when she was 38.  They had been married less than a year in 1980.  My sister who wasn't married yet was sitting below my dad who died two years after this picture and is standing beside my mom who is now 88.  She is standing above my hubby BigB.  The Navy allowed beards in those days.  My brother is standing next to him, headed out to Guatemala for the Peace Corps soon after this picture. I am sitting next to him.  And the last one on the far right is my brother Ned who is now daddy to 4 year old Hannah but at this time was married to Candi who sits across the table from him.

This is one posed, not very good picture but it speaks volumes to me about who we were in 1980.  We were on the journey of our lives.  That good purpose has been accomplished for some in that picture, but most of us still journey toward Heaven.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Treasures-Little Red Chair

More than 50 years ago at Christmas my brother and I came home to matching little red chairs under the tree.  This one is probably my brother's because my dad gave mine away without my permission during a move when I was in high school.  Before he gave it away, it had been in my bedroom my whole life holding stuffed animals after I outgrew it.  I snagged this one that my mom used for a plantstand sometime in the past few years.

I asked her recently where she got the chairs for us that Christmas.  She told me that a man in the little village where we lived made them for us.  They were handmade chairs. I bring this one up and put it by the tree at Christmas.  (I would put a stuffed bear on in, but my mean and very bad cats attack and try to kill stuffed animals at Christmas when I decorate with them. Someday I will stuff the cats and use them to decorate with.)

I will never forget coming home to find this chair under the tree with my little brother. It seemed like such a wonderous surprise to me.  I am debating whether or not to repaint this little chair. I'm not sure the stain from the plant pot really creates the memory I want to keep.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

My life has been touched by a lot of military men. My husband is retired twenty year naval vet. My brother is retired Army. My dad served in WWII in Europe, mostly England. Several of my uncles are WWII and Korean vets. Not to mention the brother-in-laws, etc. One of my grandpas served during WWI. My great grandpa was a Union soldier in the Civil War. He lost a brother in that war. Not too many war dead in my family though.

While Memorial Day was started to honor the war dead, it expanded to include all the beloved dead. I remember taking my grandma to put little containers of peonies on her parent's graves. My aunt, her daughter, always put artificial flower arrangements on the graves of our family. Putting flowers on my dad's grave was one of the very last things she ever did.

I don't know where I am going with this except that I wish I lived close enough to put flowers on the graves today. I really didn't have time when we ran up for Mother's Day on the furniture rescue mission. I will have to ask Mom if she did it and try to do better next year. Things like that mean something to me. I like to remember.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I thought I just wouldn't post and see if anyone noticed, but I'm sure they wouldn't, so what would be the joke in that?

The early April Fool's joke was the snow we had on Sunday morning. It was 2 inches but it was gone by noon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St Nick

I wish I could say that my family had a tradition for this day. We didn't. My growing up family was just not steeped in tradition enough to have a St. Nicholas Day celebration even though my maiden name was of Dutch origin. Or maybe it was the modern 1960s, such things weren't done.

When my son Moose was growing up I tried to do something on this day, but it never reached the level of a tradition. We moved too often and were often just struggling to keep our heads above water so to speak. Adding a tradition that wasn't ours seemed a little phony.

I hope someday to have a grandchild. That child or those children of my dreams would have a grandma who celebrated St. Nick's day. I know just where to go to look for traditions. I would visit all these homeschool mom blogs and borrow bits and pieces from them.

I have imagined trying to start something now with BigB and Moose, but I'm just not sure what we would find meaningful, fun or faith building. I look forward to someday having some traditions to go along with St. Nicholas Day though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleventh Day

Peace came to the world once on this day, the eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour. But it was not the peace that would last. I wonder how it is that mankind is able to get right back into war even after all the terrible lessons we learn?

The other day I heard a young English teacher talking to a group of students about the Holocaust. They asked her why people didn't kill themselves instead of going to the gas chambers? She gave them some sort of answer about religion forbidding suicide. I knew that to largely be wrong. I know this not because I lived it, but because I talked to people who were alive then.

My mother, still living, said that they heard something of what was happening to the Jews, but they didn't believe it. It made me think of Darfur and how it doesn't really seem real in some ways. My dad has been dead many years but he fought in WWII. He was fighting the Nazis and to free Europe, but he never really spoke of the Jews. He was in the mop-up crew after the war driving all over Europe, so I think he must have seen people from the camps, but he never spoke of it.

Mr. B, a custodian at the school where I began my teaching career was an Italian Jew. He thought that serving in the Italian army would protect him from Hitler, but he was taken to a camp. Even a Jew in Europe didn't think it would happen to him. No one could believe that so much evil could exist.

War is a terrible thing. Sometimes there are reasons for wars that can't be avoided. It is no wonder we forget and fight again, because we don't speak of these terrible things and then we forget.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cleaning our Souls

At Baptism our souls are so clean and white and pure. In that instant all of the original sin is removed. There is no gray, no black marks, we are pure and holy. We shine like the sun. Like the Son.

But then we live in a sinful world with sinners and we fall in among them. If we are lucky, perhaps our sins aren't large or many. Perhaps they are just the usually litany of thoughtless or careless acts. But through our life in the sinful world we separate ourselves from God, we lose our way. Lucky for us, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit calls us back to be forgiven, has already forgiven us. All we have to do is ask and try to change. We can be reconciled with God. There is a sacrament after Baptism that attends to that.

Sometimes I wonder why we aren't all running in for Reconciliation. Why we avoid it so much? It makes us right with God. We can be forgiven. We can clean up our souls.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth

Everybody is out watching the fireworks or having a picnic today. So what use is a long post? But, I did want to tell everyone--don't take freedom for granted. Celebrate, and then do the work of democracy. Be an informed citizen. Don't let others do your thinking for you. Read, discuss, but don't be bullied. There are two or more sides to an issue. There is more than one issue. Hold to your values and vote your values. Don't be tricked by promises. Look at the fruits of the actions of the various politicians. Celebrate our freedoms and hold them dear. Hold them very dear.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Memories--Picnics

As I watched the nice weather and lovely spring blossoms this weekend, I reflected on the fun my family used to have in the summer in parks near our home. We frequently had picnics. Sometimes we would meet other friends or family members and have an "outing." Other times just our family would pack up a picnic and have supper at the park. I fondly remember exploring parks and enjoying nature on those picnics. The playground equipment was always more fun at a park.

Usually the food wasn't eleborate or fussy. A family picnic would include something like sandwiches, cookies, potato chips, fruit and Koolade. The point was to have fun, not enjoy a gourmet repast. The kids (my siblings and I) would run around and have fun and get tired so that we would sleep well that night. Going on a picnic was just an ordinary fun thing that my family did.

As the weather warms up and we start spending more time outdoors, I remember fondly those picnics of by-gone days. I hate to admit that my husband and I didn't go on a lot of picnics with our son. Because there were just 3 of us, we would often stop and eat first and then go to the park or the beach. Packing food was just too much trouble. So, my son will have few "picnic" memories.

I just thought I would share the memory, so that some of you moms with kids at home might think about having a picnic in this nice weather. Pack up some sandwiches and fruit and head out to a park. Somehow it all tastes better "al fresco." Your kids might someday have a memory or two to share.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hammer or Pliers?

Our Lady of LaSalette is not a well-known Mary apparition. The story goes that Mary appeared to 2 French children who were herding cows. Mary was weeping about the sins taking place in the world. If you see a cross with a pliers and a hammer, that is the LaSalette cross. It is not easy to find one of these crosses except at the shrine dedicated to LaSalette.

On the website for the shrine I couldn't find the explanation for this odd crucifix. If you didn't know any better you might think that it was dedicated to some kind of workers society. The meaning I have heard for the pliers and the hammer is much more profound. The meaning for the hammer and pliers has touched my life.

The hammer and the pliers represent our actions. With every action we choose--hammer or pliers? The hammer drives the nails into the feet and hands of Christ. The pliers try to pull the nails out. Think of that--an unkind word--hammer, remembering to pray--pliers. Each action has an effect, each action is good or bad.

Just this morning I found my husband's lunch items floating in the cold, slimy dishwater from last night. I was very tempted just to leave them there. But I had just read something about LaSalette and it reminded me--do good, for Christ's sake. So I washed the lunch things. My husband announced that he was buying lunch so he didn't need the things today. I knew that my effort wasn't wasted. I had chosen to do good for Christ. It is always right to do good whether anyone else ever knows or appreciates it. Always choose the pliers.

If I could just keep the LaSalette cross in my mind, I know that I would come closer to Christ with my daily life. Although I am a pretty active Christian, still I find there is a tendency to think this thing or that thing isn't really covered by my duty or call as a Christian. There is a tencdency to put some things outside of my Catholic Christian life. But the truth is, everything is part of my call. Everything I do or neglect to do effects my soul.

For this Holy Thursday be mindful, thoughtful, considerate of all that you do. Use the pliers, not the hammer. Choose what is good and holy and pleasing in His sight. I intend to try. I really intend to try.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Week

I once spent part of Holy Week in Rome. I was an exchange student to Brighton College of Education and we had the month of April off. My friend and I traveled around Europe on a Eurail Pass. As Easter approached we headed toward Rome to meet some friends on the Spanish Steps.

We were in Austria for Passion Sunday. I remember that the Austrians used long wood shavings instead of palms. They also sold figures and decorations made of straw in the markets. I think you were supposed to burn them the next year, but I still have mine. Austria was a very welcoming country, very friendly. Salzburg is one of my favorite places in the whole world.

We headed toward Rome after Austria, stopping for a night in Venice. I am glad I was in Venice once, but I remember wishing that I were rich while I was there because every single thing was expensive. Then we caught the train to Rome. The trains were impossibly busy during Holy Week. Standing Room Only on the trains. People were busy and crowded and not at all friendly.

In Rome we met our friends, toured the Vatican and saw various sights. We could not find a hotel that would let us stay until Easter, so by Holy Thursday we left Rome. If I could go back in time I would have stayed and slept in the train station just to be there for Good Friday and for Easter, but I was young. I threw coins in the fountain, I planned to be back again someday. It hasn't happened yet. It isn't in the works any time soon. Maybe someday, probably not at Easter though.

I will always remember that I was once in Rome during Holy Week. Not everybody can say that. As I start another Holy Week I pray to draw closer to God who strengthens me and has walked with me through all the good times and held my hand through the bad times. I once again thank the guardian angels who protected two silly girls who had quite an adventure once upon a time.