Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Wonders of Creation

The Almighty did not have to populate the earth with these wonders, yet He did. I think at times He is as entertained as I am by all of it! Probably standing giggling even as I share this. Do you know what these animals are?
I was reading the National Geographic article on national parks when I came across the fellow above. He is called a tardigrade. They wrote,"Most of the 9 million annual visitors to the Smokies have never heard of tardigrades. Those who have would be hard-pressed to see them without a microscope - the eight-legged, barrel-shaped panarthropods are only about a half-millimeter long - but they are among the park's most extraordinary inhabitants, capable of surviving for decades in a suspended state of almost total dehydration."
I had heard of these somewhere in my fascination with microscopic life. As I pondered the terrific photo, the thought hit me, "They look like manatees!" The huge underwater "sea cows" in the Gulf of Mexico and other places around Florida. "Manatees are mainly herbivores, spending most of their time grazing in shallow waters and at depths of 3-7 ft. Much of the knowledge about manatees is based upon research done in Florida and cannot necessarily be attributed to all types of manatees. Average 9 to 10 feet long, weighing around 1,000 lbs. Can grow as large as 13 feet and weigh more than 3,000 lbs. Calves are born weighing about 40 lbs, gaining about 700 lbs. during their first year. Gentle and generally slow-moving. Most of the time is spent eating vegetation (100-150 lbs. per day), resting and traveling. On average manatees can travel about 40 to 50 miles a day, sometimes farther."
So look at the two photos again and rejoice that we are so blessed to get to see and ponder these delights.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 1970

Oh! A very special day, indeed. Bob and I were married in Live Oak Park, Berkeley, California. We had to break up a football game to get the wedding underway. My mother was fretting the week before, so I called to be certain the grounds keeper knew about our wedding. Good thing I called or the sprinklers would have come on just about the time I was set to walk to my groom waiting under the Juniper tree! Score one for Mom!
Mind you these photos were made from slides. They are now 42 years old! And I am not as savvy as my husband on computer photo enhancement. So celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary with us through a few photos.
The blessing by the Priest:
Scroll down the end of the night my jaws ached from grinning!
Moments after the ceremony - The Processional
Scroll down ...

After the reception, leaving for the Honeymoon! I'm in blue velvet. Bob is in blue jeans! What a hoot :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Reading Debbie Macomber

I was given a book by Debbie Macomber with two stories in it; "Bride Wanted" and "Groom Wanted." I about put it down halfway through the first story. She does not write in a style I am accustomed to and her sexual innuendoes were making me uncomfortable. I persevered and had to admit at the end of the first story that it was pretty good. I plunged into the second story and it was lighter on the sexual stuff. I was almost finished with it a few days later and asked myself, "Why am I reading this?" Rarely do I read a book without it having some meaning to me, even if that meaning is not clear at first.
Saw a friend at movie night at church and finally met her fiancée after hearing about him for a while. They were sweet in their maturing adult romance. Then I had a call from another friend about an acquaintance he had recentlly renewed. He referred to himself as "Twitterpated."
1) to be completely enamored with someone/something.

2) the flighty exciting feling you get when you think about/see the object of your affection.

3) romantically (ahem)excited (i.e.: aroused)

4) the ever increasing acceleration of heartbeat and body temperature as a result of being engulfed amidst the exhilaration and joy of being/having a romantic entity in someone's life.

As I pondered and prayed about this change in his life I rejoiced over the work of the Lord in sending him to call someone he had not contacted for over 12 years, and finding himself blown away by her. I knew why I was to read Debbie's book. We celebrate 42 years of marriage next week, and this book helped refresh my memory of how it feels to be newly in love.
May the next decades with my husband be as twitterpated as our first was! I love you, Bob!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20th and Twofers

According ot The Farmer's Almanac, autumn begins September 22, 10:49 A.M. EDT. Am I ever ready! What a long, miserable summer physically. Today the Oral Surgeon pulls #9 and hopefully I can be on my way to better health and less physical distraction!
Physical pain seems to me to be one of the worst distractions in my spiritual journey. I have read where others turn around their physical distress and use it to draw themselves closer to God. I find that extremely difficult to do. Most often continuous pain and fatigue just grind me down to powder.
I did have some good news on two fronts yesterday! Went to the hand surgeon's office to get an arthritis "Comfort Brace" for the left hand. September 10 he had said I could put aside the large brace except for use on 'pain days' or when doing heavy work. I also have permission to lift up to 20 pounds. When the cold snap here brought "Arthur Itis" home again to my body, I realized I indeed need that comfort brace to help me get through the pain days when my thumbs are compromised. It is a smaller brace that keeps me from extending my thumb too far. When the Brace specialist was walking me out of the office I asked him how long these are expected to last. I said I was wondering because the one I have for my right hand is showing wear. He said six months and asked when the doctor had put the brace on my hand. I told him just this summer. He took one look at it, and said, "Take it off and I'll get you a new one. That should have lasted better." So I left the office with 2 brand new braces to use as needed!
Then I had a call from the Dentist office that my new partial was ready for pick up. The bad news was when the dental lab formed the partial one of the "brackets" did not form. The good news is I can still wear it and the lab is going to make me a new one free of charge because of their error! So finally, I will have a spare partial to use if I ever need to send the other one out to have teeth added to it.
I will get to practice drawing closer to God even though in pain this very afternoon. This will be the first time for me to have an extraction and put the partial in immediately. Back to remembering my white flag of surrender and the joy of being held in the Everlasting Arms. Aging is definitely NOT for sissies!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Bee Lingers

There are many opportunities to serve in the ministry of Ignatian Spirituality Project. From drivers to bakers, retreat team leaders and members to intercessors there are always needs to be filled. September 15 I was privileged to serve on the team for an ISP Follow-up meeting. We had held a retreat at St. Mary's in August and now was the day for the past participants to reunite for a day of prayer and reflection. The team gathered at Bethanna Friday evening for a planning meeting and a more restful night than if we had stayed at home.

As we set up the final touches Saturday morning I was reflecting upon how many joyous and rich experiences I have enjoyed at Bethanna. Having been an Associate for over 20 years those ranged from some of my first retreats to a group gathered for gardening on the grounds, the fellowship and joy of Journey Together in Stitches, a prayer class years ago that delved into contemplative experiences, guided meditation, Lectio Divina, and so many Associate overnights of retreat, quiet, restoration and rest. Now I was here with a team of 3 serving 5 participants who hunger for a deeper relationship with God and recovery from various addictions.

Some of my duties involved scurrying around the grounds. At lunch I gave our Team Leader the key to Bethanna, assuming she would get back to the cottage before I finished what I needed to do. I did my errand and noticed I was the only one on the grounds when I made it outside. I took a leisurely walk through Bethany School grounds to Bethanna. It was locked. I wandered over to the fenced in vegetable garden to wait.

I have always had a fondness for blue morning glories and I noticed they were growing on the fence surrounding the garden, up some of the tomato plants, into the squash, generally delighting the garden with splashes of blue here and there. I suddenly realized I had not made a centering, quiet moment since early morning! Looking at the blue flowers I rested in the lovely color splashed along the fence. Then I focused on one flower. It had a black center. "Wait!" I thought, "morning glories do not have black centers!" Looking more closely I realized I was looking at a bee inside the flower. He was moving just slightly so I knew he was alive in there. I watched and waited, and waited. He was in there a very long time. What could one bee do for so long? Don't they flit from flower to flower? I could see that his black bottom was covered with yellow pollen. My first impulse was "where is my camera?" My second impulse, "Hey! Faith, take a photo!" I waited. The bee lingered in there. I was amazed that this little morning glory flower had that much nectar to lure a rather large bee to stay for such a long time. Then slowly the bee started to back out of the flower. He was covered with yellow pollen. His legs was spangled with it. His abdomen almost more yellow than black. He staggered out of the flower. The limp petals could barely hold his weight. He was diligently cleaning his proboscis. Come to think of it, I did not remember ever seeing the proboscis of a bee before!
The flower kept folding under his weight and he moved to a bush close by. Still at eye level I had to see what he was doing. As I watched him extend his proboscis further and yet further and clean the length of his tongue with his "paws" I heard the Lord saying, "You cannot spend too much time with Me. There is no such thing as drinking too much living water from My well. Just as the bee seemed to linger an inordinate amount of time, you cannot come here too often or remain with Me too long. Share the "pollen" you collect and rest in this assurance."

I had experienced my quiet moment during retreat, and what a moment it was! I had an open door opportunity to share the experience with one participant. During our final closing I determined I would not speak unless everyone else had the chance and it was obvious the Lord wanted me to share. The window of opportunity was wide and I told the group what I saw and learned in the garden.

Oh Lord, help us continue to linger in the flower of Your presence, drinking in Your living water. Give us courage to share with others the treasures You give so abundantly. Amen.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Remember when I wrote about Rumi and David Crowder Band? I have just been reading Margaret Silf's book "Getting to The Heart of Ignatius of Loyola." Here is an exceprt:
"Let me lift those spirits for you.” He grinned. And then, to my complete amazement, he started to dance! He performed a fantastic Basque dance, right there in my apartment, just for me. I felt my depression lifting and a lighthearted joy returning. By the time he had finished his performance, we were both laughing.
“I did that once for someone who was making the Exercises and got a bit low,” he said. “It’s not something I am in the habit of doing, but, after all, we do both follow the Lord of the Dance.”
Also Bought Mary Englebriet notes that say "When in Doubt, Twirl!" I see a pattern developing here!
I have been twirling since last Monday when the Doctor said I could discontinue use of the brace except on "pain days" and when doing heavy work. Been trying to keep myself in the discipline of the physical therapy. Hard when you feel you do not HAVE to, but if I went full use and less swelling and pain I DO HAVE TO.
I'm at the Convent tonight for the "Reunion" day of prayer with the women from the August retreat all day Saturday. Please pray for the team to have wisdom and insight regarding how best to meet their needs and provide them with a new tool to use in their recovery.
And keep twirling!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sounds of Summer

Last October I wrote the following poem. This summer I really wanted to capture some of the wild sounds outside our window. I took a day off recently and had my camera. The photos I wanted never happened, but I did short video to capture the SOUND.
Hope you like the poem. Also hope you will listen to the sounds of summer on the video! Only too soon autumn will be upon us. AND I CAN'T WAIT to end this summer of confusion and frustration and medication changes and broken arm, dental work, oral surgeries, and physical therapy!

The Symphony                  11-10-21
It had been a wild and raucous season
Crickets, tree frogs and locusts sang arias
Symphonies arose from the woods
Mere people were immersed in sound
With a certain knowledge that they were outnumbered

We took the chorus for granted
Air conditioners were turned off
A respite from the heat led to open windows
The chorus arose unabated.
The season beat onwards
We enjoyed a coverlet on the bed
With relish we threw open the windows
And slept with a blanket

We danced with Indian Summer
Knowing in a few months we would long
For the sun, this breeze, such ease.
Migrating birds began to show up in the yard
Absent all summer, the robins arrived
And passed through

We never realized until after the cold snap
That the symphony had dwindled
To a chorus, a melody, a refrain, the rest
And cessation of song
Announcing winter is about to descend upon the woods.

Leaves fall to the ground. They are the only sound.