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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sarejevo, 100 Years On

Contemporary article from the Library of Congress archive of the New York Tribune:

In Flanders Fields -- WWI 100 years on

On this day 100 years ago, with the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip, an inevitable (as it appeared at the time) chain of events was set into motion, leading to "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars."  The world hadn't yet lost its certain belief in the nobility of armed conflict when these haunting words were penned by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Quick Takes

What has two thumbs and walked out of the Publix singing the descant  part two "Have you never been mellow?"

Yeah, this girl.

Raking up the infuriating cypress branch leavings is a great way to be forced to focus on spiritual metaphors. Our first parents were put in a garden, and I don't think they were merely put there to wander amidst the greenery. Adam tended the garden… It is the same jobthat God  assigned him when he was forced to leave Eden. I wonder how much of the cycle of life Adam and Eve saw before they left Paradise. Did they see renewal and resurgence? Where there periods of dormancy? Where there fall colors and shedding of leaves?
The hard work wasn't the curse… But being forced to rely on it for a livelihood was.

When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to us, he said "I will not leave you comfortless. I will send a comforter, the Holy Spirit…"However, and I believe this may be an original thought to me, he did not say "The Spirit will make you comfortable."

Like the Proverbs 31 woman, today I "considered a [dishwasher], and bought it."  Unlike her, I had the Consumer Reports ratings available to me.

Headed into another slammed up week. I already know I cannot get everything done, but I have to get so many things done in the next two days that I am quite concerned.
First up, now that Windows has opened on the laptop, is to finish my nurse practitioner certification self-assessment test. Let's hear it for pediatric rashes!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trying again

This time with two-step sign-in for my accounts.  

Let's hope this stops the drug ads.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Frustration with random posts, ill-intentioned people

Let's hope that this PW change (which I couldn't do from the Blogger app, btw) gets rid of random mercenary posts from this blog. 

Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts

For 2014, Dioceses with the Ascension Celebrated on Sunday

Know, dear brothers and sisters, that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Saviour. 

On the Fifth day of March will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season. 

On the Twentieth day of April you will celebrate with Joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

On the First day of June will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

On the Eighth day of June the feast of Pentecost. 

On the Twenty-Second day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. 

On the Thirtieth day of November the First Sunday of Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and glory for ever and ever. 

Lovely old tradition.  It's also easy to imagine having all of the weekly announcements chanted to this tune (quite similar to the Exultet.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Advent

So very behind on my idea of reading and reflecting on the readings each day.  So much realizing that mere force of will doesn't change the habits and business of life, even when the seasons change.

So, stuff I don't want to forget when the busyness of the season is over.
Wonderful, wonderful opportunity to sing in at Lessons and Carols in Durham on the 8th -- and even yesterday one of the lovely carols was resonating in my head.  I do so miss the folks at our old church.  But, as Izzy and I have discussed, moving back there would mean moving back to a different life. We aren't Presbyterian anymore, and that "outpost of the Kingdom of God" wouldn't be the center of our lives.
I am so glad our church doesn't have a running water font.  It's tough needing to wear earplugs during Mass--makes it very hard to sing.

Follow-up to last week's call from the breast center:
It was forever to the next morning when I could call and schedule the appointment for a recheck.  What was seen was described as "asymmetric density" when compared with lat year's X-rays. Doctor Google gave possible causes for asymmetric density ranging from an undifferentiated mass (time to get the will written) to "an island of normal breast tissue." I opted to only communicate with one friend prior to the repeat mammogram.  We're usually very open people, but there was nothing to be gained from frightening a bunch of folks.  Bottom line, the "spot compression" views (emphasis on the word compression) were normal.  We held each other close, toasted and gave thanks for our very good fortune, and I had the first non-Italian dinner in 5 nights as izzy prepared a feast of gratitude.  

Last Sunday's Gaudete Mass was again a capella, solo.  But for once, there was only one Mass to do over the weekend,  Izzy was actually surprised when I didn't head over early Saturday afternoon to get warmed up.  
Lots of babysitting-including for several little guys and a little girl Sunday. Parents were attending a baptism, and and out of town funeral.  We think one of the little ones may have opted to share a virus with us.  After sitting again last night (Tuesday), I came home and realized that whatever awfulness I was feeling was not just from the workplace brunch.  Brunches don't give fevers, at least not quickly.  So, I was home all day, sleepy and achy.  Izzy came home early, and is now in bed with a fever.  Fortunately, we stay well stocked in stock, plus ginger and garlic.  We'll be better by Friday, I'm sure, in plenty of time to stand as godparents for an adorable, very squishy, little guy this Sunday.  

That's it for now.  The only Christmassy thing we've put up on the leg lamp nightlight in the bathroom. I could say we haven't decorate because we are scrupulously keeping Advent, but it's more about motivation and time stewardship.  

Back to work tomorrow.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday of the 2nd Week in Advent

Also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Didn't get to Daily Mass like I have in the past for this date - meetings at work -- face-to-face and virtual.  

Called the Breast Center today and was told that the radiologist compared last year's films with this year's and noted "asymmetric density" on the left breast.  Doctor Google tells me that it would be everything from an undifferentiated mass (not good) to an "island of normal breast tissue" (presumably good.)  Repeat mammogram and sonogram tomorrow.  I've seen good flow charts showing what happens next, but we'll cross those bridges later.
Wonderful, very supportive text and phone convos with a dear friend who recently began his own cancer journey.  He wisely noted that the worry and fear one feels in this stage is the 2nd worse set of emotions -- the worst is the fear that comes with every odd symptoms that suggests that the cancer might be returning.  
Good evening with Italian food (4th night in a row) and babies.  I'd so missed my little now three year old buddy.  Big smiles from his baby sister lighted up Izzy's evening.    
The weekend may have lots of babysitting.  There will be music for Gaudete Sunday, as soon as I pick it out  Life will go on, and I have far too much to get done in far too little time to worry about asymmetric density.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Advent

A bit of an emotional day.  

This morning I awoke, curled up on Izzy's pillow, nestled in the covers that still carried his scent, and took advantage of an extra hour of sleep.  I loved that extra time and the warmth he'd left for me.
I didn't have to leave the house until a little after 10 -- in order to snag seats for ourselves and our godson and his mother.  Today was the Mass of Christian Burial for the husband half of the couple who stood up as our confirmation sponsors when we were received into the Holy Catholic Church, 10 years ago now.  
R&D were married 51 years. They had a blow-out celebration for their 50th -- we were blessed to be there for the Mass and reception.  R was "large and in charge" that day, and so very doting on and smitten with his beloved.  I wish we'd posed for pictures that day -- there were so many others taken.  I thought I'd taken pics, but I have not been able to find them this week.  We could have also made the opportunity for a picture of us with our "godparents" (technically sponsors, but neither Izzy nor I got godparents as children, so R&D would have to do), and our godchildren.  
Convoluted sentence construction, but I want to remember to say what needs to be said when I think of it.  Take the pics when I get the idea.  
We sat at the church with 2 godchildren (one of whom will be baptized on the 4th Sunday in Advent) and one parent of each of them, plus MK's big brother JG (aka "His Cuteness").  I got some good baby time in the cry room -- big smiles, too.  JG copied the priest's motions during the consecration and pretended to ring the bells.  Awesome!
At the graveside service, with military honors,I teared up as I expected for Taps and the gun salute. 
A bit of an shocker at work when several of us found out we will have to move offices.  I'll be losing my space to someone ranked higher than me, who is losing her space to someone with better political connections.  And so it goes. The new space is half of what I've had before.  Since my current office is a total wreck with far too much in it, I've actually been working in the smaller office already.  This move will allow me to do the purge I've been meaning to do.  Blessing in disguise?
So, that gets me to going home.  Izzy is busy in the kitchen, getting a dinner of spiced green beans, and ravioli with his homemade onion and tomato marina.  He tells me I have a message from the breast imaging center.  It's a voicemail merely asking me to call them.  It's been a week since the mammogram.  Those messages are never to ask the patient to call in to receive good news.  
So, now we're in the time of uncertainty and what-ifs.  Can't get any answers for another 10-12 hours. Don't expect answers then.
R had been admitted to hospice Friday with a new diagnosis of a blood cancer. He'd been working hard to recover from the stroke.  Another friend's step mother (MK's grandmother) died overnight from a very recently diagnosed lymphoma.  Earlier in the year, we lost a friend (and another of MK's grandmothers) from a year and a half battle with pancreatic cancer.  
Now, I read in today's Advent Prayer guide about preparing the way for The Lord and we heard today in the funeral homily about being a light to guide others to Christ, rather than pointing to ourselves.  
That may come.  Right now, we're holding each other up and Izzy is feeling lots of emotions that I'm too full of logistical questions to feel fully. 
Evening ends with Treme, and my favorite port.  

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Today was a day of working hard, and realizing that my motivations and attitudes were based on my (slowly dawning) realization that my boss just doesn't like me. I might get some begrudging respect, but never friendship or even collegiality. At this point, having realistically assessed the job market, and being stuck where I am, I've decided to focus on being grateful for employment and working to finish up ongoing projects as if I am preparing to leave.

Tonight's reading was on Noah-who worked in futility most of the time leading up to the flood. I'm praying for stamina and blameless performance that reflects my skills and gives full value to my employer. 
A friend who lost her mother to cancer has received terrible cancer news about her stepmother. They have another horrible journey ahead of their family. I pray to be faithful in prayer for them--maybe the promotions I've consistently not gotten give me time for others--time that would have been taken up at work. 

Update: Carol died early in the morning of December 11.  I sat with her son-in-law and grandchildren at a funeral later that morning.  I held and played with a baby while we said good bye to a father/grandfather/godfather; the little child I held never got to meet her step-grandmother, who was always too ill whenever visits were suggested. Take those pics when I have a chance is my take-away,  
Rest in peace, Carol. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

First Sunday in Advent, 2013

Happy New Year!

I find it wonderful that Holy Mother Church allows us a preview New Year's. It's a chance to get a jump on New Year's resolutions, to make them stick before the calendar turns over.
So, for today, I have read in the booklet given to us by our parish. I also have a few thoughts, based on having cantored for three Masses this weekend, and having heard the same things over and over again. I think this is part of God's plan for me-if He can't get a message through, I'll end up with extra Masses to attend.
1. Our first reading ends with the phrase "O house of Jacob come let us walk in the light of the Lord!" Based upon that in the light theme (not to say "leight motif" of Advent, I picked two songs related to light. Christ be our light and We Are Called. They both exhort the singer to seek God and to seek the light of His presence.  However, I was struck over and over again about how much of those songs is also about the externals. "We are called to act with Justice." "Make us your building, sheltering others, walls made of living stone." That, and the obvious economic justice messages and songs we sing each week, especially in the responsorial Psalms, fit well with the message released by the Holy Father this week. A message I need to read.
2. It was wonderful to hear such a high percentage of our congregation singing the mass parts in Latin at the three masses I did this weekend. I was especially pleased to see a young man who looked up the passages to make sure he could share the words with his girlfriend.
3. It is amazing how little time you actually have over a four-day Thanksgiving holiday. I assumed I would get a lot more done, have long visits with family here in Columbia, etc. Between the great visit from out-of-town relatives, spending time with our godson's family, and cleaning up plus food preparation, and all the music oreparation and singing, and let's not forget the football watching Saturday night, the weekend is over. I expect December to whiz by, but hope to keep up the discipline of reading each day and posting something about what God is showing me. 
4. The songs that kept entering my head as I heard the Word proclaimed this weekend included "I can't wait to see Jesus" by Pat Terry, and "I wish we'd all been ready" by Larry Norman.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yellow Roses

20 years ago tonight, I was staying at what was then called the Carolina-Duke Inn (corner of Guess Road & 1-85, now:, an inexpensive home-away-from-home for the week I spent doing job interviews in Durham.
I'd been disappointed at the Duke job, which was advertised as a Peds AIDS clinic, but which had morphed into a geriatric practice, for which I, as a pediatric nurse practitioner, was spectacularly unqualified. I'd had a good interview with the Durham County Health Department, but they didn't really need a PNP. This trip out from Dallas was winding down, and I really needed to land a job. We were leaving Texas for Izzy to start his Classics degree at Duke in August, and I'd be leaving the 3-in-1 jobs in the Foster Care Clinic, Day Surgery Unit, and Newborn Nurseries at Children's Medical Center of Dallas and Parkland Hospital.
On my last day in town, I had scheduled an interview with the Durham Developmental Evaluation Center. Folks who've known me for a while know that I got that job, and worked there until I got the state Child Health Nurse Consultant position with DEHNR in 1994. Here's a bit you might not recall, so many years later.
I needed to check out the morning of July 23, 1992, and drive to Columbia after my DEC interview. I would leave my car there, and fly back to Dallas to prepare for our move. I had packed up the car, after making sure I was well-dressed for the interview, when I received a call from the office. There, waiting for me in a lovely round gray clay vase, were 9 saucer-sized long-stemmed yellow roses. Gorgeous! Glorious! The perfect gift for our 9th wedding anniversary, the first (I think *only*) on which we'd been apart. They'd been delivered from Ruth Hall Florist, and were the most beautiful bouquet I'd ever received.
Only, and here's what makes something like this story memorable, they presented a bit of a dilemma. I had the aforementioned interview around 10 AM. It's July 23. The interior heat of my Hyundai Excel was sure to destroy these flowers if I leave them there, and there is no way to extend my use of the motel room. I decided to be bold, and carried the roses into the DEC office, at the time in portable buildings affixed to the old Lennox children's hospital on Erwin Road.
I asked if there were somewhere I could put the flowers during the interview. Each of the administrative support staff volunteered her desk- I forget who "won" possession for the 90 minutes or so that I was there. After the interview, I collected my flowers, thanked the staff profusely, headed back out and drive to my parents' home in Columbia.
Wheels of government hiring processes move slowly. We left Dallas at the end of July, arriving in Durham the first week of August. No job offer yet. Another week passed- nothing. I called the office frequently, and was always put through to the director, though. I later found that not all calls made it to him. The staff remembered me as the lady with the roses, and, as I learned later, thought I was a nice person. It took waiting and perseverance, but I got the job. I have to think that the help i got from those staff helped my cause.
Izzy has always loved giving me accoutrements, whether flowers sent to my office for no reason, jewelry or other gifts that he hides for me to find, lovely scarves that are sure to elicit questions about their provenance, etc. His goal is to make me look special, to let others know how much he cherishes me. Those roses made me legendary in that job, topped only by the 4 sets of roses in 4 days for our 10th anniversary (a post for another day.)
20 years have passed. The roses are long gone (I left them in SC for Mom to enjoy when I flew back to Dallas.) The pot finally cracked. The Hyundai was left in a scrap yard in Galesburg, IL. Nothing tangible remains from that day.
However, the man sitting opposite me in our Rosewood bungalow still looks at me with the same smile that the young man did when I returned to Dallas, only with even more love. I still cherish him with all my heart, and am so grateful for the wonderful memory he made for me 20 years ago.
Happy 29th anniversary, my Darling!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seeing Myself as God Does

Posted in a discussion forum, where we are asked once weekly to share what we are learning from God.  I wanted to be able to find this again.
(Most Thursdays, I have all day meetings, and cannot respond, much less think clearly enough to write something thoughtful about lessons God is teaching me. I'm sure you know... that when folks are commenting during the day, they may be reading/catching up after hours.  Thanks to all for giving me great things to read!)
I'll break from lurking with a couple of stories about how we see ourselves and how God does--both from recent Sundays:

1.  Several Sundays ago, we had a visiting priest (ours is in Poland visiting family and going to EuroCup games).  His was a very deliberate cadence which, combined with my unfamiliarity with his voice, caused me to hear more closely some parts of the Mass that I might otherwise have overlooked.
Our small chapel was packed, to the point that the choir area was filled with latecomer families, most of whom had small children.  I, as the soloist at 9 AM, usually have the whole area to myself, so I'm not used to excluding noises from kids from my mind as I try to be a full, conscious and active participant.
Toward the end of the Mass, visiting Father prayed these words: "Make us to be more like your apostles..."
At the exact same moment, the two boys behind me began to argue over positions on the pews, whispering loudly "That's my seat! No, that MYYY seat!"
Some of you may already be smiling, as I was, immediately.  We ARE so often, very much like the Apostles--James and John in Mark 10, to be specific.

God loved and chose those men, and He has chosen me, despite my tendency to be more like disciples arguing over seats in the Kingdom, than like anyone in Hebrews 11.

2.  Last Sunday, the Responsorial Psalm was #139.  It's been a favorite of mine since back in high school, when our youth director made us memorize it as a prerequisite to going on a hiking trip.  I've spent years pondering the depth of intimate knowledge and love God has for us, and how there is nowhere we can go to get away from Him.
I'd spent some time thinking about the "fearfully and wonderfully made" part, but less on the "for *I* am..." part of verse 14.
In the Responsorial Psalm, for those unfamiliar with the tradition, the Cantor sings a line or two from the Psalm, which the congregation then repeats.  After singing 1-2 verses, everyone again repeats the initial verse/phrase.  For last Sunday, I stood in front of the congregation and sang, 6 times, the phrase "I praise You, for I am wonderfully made."  The musical setting really emphasized "praaaaaaise" and "WONNNNderfully".
After the first time I sang it, I briefly wondered about the irony of singing those lines. I'd just had another post-50 birthday, had spent the week dealing with blood sugar issues and migraines, and just didn't feel anything like someone who is/was "wonderfully made." God granted me the grace, as the song continued, to realize that I was praying the insight He'd given the Psalmist--who am I to argue with "Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well"?

God, who knows my "downsitting and mine uprising", causes me to sing: "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Test post

Trying a post from the iPhone app.
Can I insert a pic?
It appears I can.

Saturday, February 04, 2012