Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today my dad would have been 95 years old and although he has been gone 24 years, there is still a number of things I remember and miss about him.

1.  neon green duct tape.  This was my dad's favorite repair tool.
2.  hot coffee and salami sandwiches for "Santa" on Christmas Eve.
3.  when we played Trivial Pursuit one year and Dad answered all the questions with "boxing".
4.  Dad's singing and how bad it was but he always sang with gusto.
5.  how giddy he was the day he made a hole-in-one.
6.  how he would steal french fries off my plate.
7.  he loved Christmas, his favorite holiday.
8.  he showed my mom everyday how much he loved her.
9.  making fun of daddy's "soapus".
10.  having to pronounce and spell my dad's first name for teachers, friends, etc. (It's Joaquin, by the way).
11.  how daddy would do all the sewing on the sewing machine but could not sew on a button to save his life.
12.  daddy would always take the opposite side of a discussion with my husband, Butch, just to argue with him.
13.  daddy loved my mincemeat pie and arroz con pollo.
14.  daddy would always be in my corner, no matter what.
15.  I miss my dad's voice on the phone, "Hi Baby, I am coming to your house with your mother, the dog and golf balls (I live on 40 acres of land and dad like to hit golf balls out here).  I am still finding them.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Inspiration from Mother Angelica

"Faith is what gets you started. Hope is what keeps you going. Love is what brings you to the end." - Mother Angelica (April 20, 1923 - March 27, 2016).

We shall miss you, Mother.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lenten Project Update (original post 2/18)

At the beginning of  Lent, I began a project of downsizing.  Instead of donating money to my church or other organizations in honor of Lent or simply giving up something like chocolate or soda or ice cream, I wanted to do something more tangible.  A sacrifice that would make the most difference to me and also to Jesus.  So I began to downsize.  Each day during Lent, I cleaned a closet, chest of drawers, shelf, trunk, etc. and put an item into a bag or box with the goal that at the end of Lent, all the items would be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  At first, I was not sure there would be enough for the 40 days of Lent as I had already been cleaning and downsizing since my retirement 2 years ago. Imagine my surprise when my Lenten donation included 4 bags and 2 boxes full of items.  My husband even got into the project and added items of his own.  We also included a grocery box filled with non-perishable food for the St. Vincent de Paul pantry. 

Cleaning out the items I did not need anymore and donating them to someone who does have a need for them may not seem like a sacrifice that compares to the one Jesus made for us.  To be honest, I don't believe that Jesus looks at it like that...keeping a running tally on who is sacrificing enough.  I believe that He wants us to acknowledge that part of our life that could use some housecleaning to make room for Him to fill our spirits completely.  To rid ourselves of those material needs that only push Him away from working in our lives.  A Lenten sacrifice is an individual decision.  Each of us knows what we need to do to make ready for His Resurrection.  Each of us needs to ask ourselves, "How did I prepare myself for Jesus this Lenten season?"

Monday, March 21, 2016

3/20 Weekly Inspiration

"Jesus my Lord, let me strengthen my courage by taking on the courage of all those people who have been "centurions" for me. Many have faced disasters and hard times with great constancy. The upper hand of evil never turned them against you. They kept going. Let me be like them, Lord. No matter what the cross, let me never stop declaring you to be "truly the Son of God, the source of my hope, the reason why I will never quit on life."

 – Prayer for Holy Week from Catholic Online

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dad's Plant

When my dad passed away 24 years ago, my mother decided to sell the house and move to a warmer climate.  She asked me what I wanted from the house and among a number of items I requested, I asked for a large green plant that had been near the back door for almost 20 years.  An odd request she thought but she gave me the plant.  You see, this plant was my dad's.  He watered it every day, carefully removed any dead leaves and rotated the pot once a week.  It was a routine for him and I remember how we made fun of how this was the only plant his green thumb could keep alive.  24 years later, this plant is still alive and growing by my front door.  It's watered every day, the dead leaves are carefully removed and its rotated in the planter once a week.  It reminds me of my dad and how he is still with me in a way.  There are times I will look at the plant and its leaves are drooping a bit and it seems almost unhappy that because of winter the sun is not out or there is no warm breeze caressing its leaves because of course the door cannot be left open.  It reminds me that sometimes I feel down and trapped inside by winter and miss the warmth of the sun and soft caress of a breeze in the spring.  Then there are days like today where the leaves are standing straight and tall and looking quite happy as if something or someone just gave the plant a little boost in some way.  There are days like that with me.  I can be feeling quite unhappy and then there will be that little boost...a facebook message from my son wishing me a happy day, a picture of my grandpuppy with his newest toy, a joke from a friend or a small surprise from my husband to make me smile.  But most of the time, when I see the plant looking tall, straight and reaching for the sun, I remember daddy.  Because that was my dad...standing straight and tall who lived his life as big as he could right up to the day he died. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Inspiration-week of 3/14/2016

"Give God your agenda and let Him replace your doubts with His promises."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

"Grace Notes Blog Hop"-Quiet Stillness is a Good Thing

I live in the middle of nowhere in the UP (sort of between the toolies and the boonies).  I live on a dirt dead-end road where my neighbors are not very close at all.  I live on 40 acres of farmland with no sidewalks or streetlights and no traffic.  When I first moved out here (almost 40 years ago) with my husband, I had a hard time adjusting to the quiet.  I grew up in the city with traffic, neighbors right next door, streetlights, sidewalks, people, etc.  So moving to an area that became pitch black at night and deathly silent most of the time was very difficult to adjust to.  When I was home, I made sure there was always noise in the house, whether it was the tv or music.  At night, all outside lights were on to shine thru the windows.  But as I said, that was over 40 years ago.  As I have gotten older, I find that I appreciate the stillness of where I live.  Sitting on my deck with a cup of coffee in the mornings brings only the sounds of a tree branch creaking in the breeze, a woodpecker doing his thing in the woods across the road and birds singing their wake up songs.  There is a quiet stillness to my environment.  I love it so much that when the occasional car or truck goes down my road and breaks into the stillness, I become irritated.

Quiet stillness can be very good for the spirit as well as the physical health of a person.  The worries and stresses of life seem to fade away as the silence washes over you.  You concentrate more on the small sounds you are hearing around you rather than the clamor of chaos that fills your head at times.  You listen to your heartbeat and your thoughts focus on what is important and what is not.  You gain a clearer perspective on those tasks that you can control and those you cannot.  It helps you to understand what you should let go and what you should keep working on.  It allows you to see what should be given to God to take care of.

So when the worry and stress of life seems to overwhelm you, take a moment and enjoy the quiet and stillness and focus on what you can do and what you should give up to God to do for you.

"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed."      
St. Francis de Sales

"The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."    Exodus 14:14
"Be still and know that I am God!"  Psalms 46:10

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 8th Inspiration

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
                                                                           -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Joey Martin Feek of Joey and Rory passed away today.  Diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, she and her husband have been an inspiration to those with this disease as well as to those who have followed their blog of her journey.  Through this entire time, she has shown bravery and love as well as an intense faith in God.  In fact, Rory put it so well when he wrote,

"My wife's greatest dream came true today.  She is in Heaven."

The heavenly angel choir has a new voice this day.

Friday, March 4, 2016


When I was a little girl, my dad always told me to be proud to be an American.  He taught me to always sing the National Anthem in my loudest voice, put my hand over my heart when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and never ever feel embarrassed to show my love of this great country.

Dad, I am not proud of America these days.  It is a presidential election year and, Dad, all of the candidates do not have one redeeming quality among them.  They don't discuss issues, they insult one another.  They display the behavior of children when they should be showing the nation why they should be chosen to occupy the office of the most powerful person in our country.  They don't even address the nation as a whole, their speeches are aimed at the groups who want to undermine our current president.  They lie in a big way, they accuse without proof, they instill fear to look like saviors, they ridicule and insult the intelligence of the citizens and worst of all, they use the words that this country was built on to tear it apart.  It is a sad day when the biggest headlines are that American citizens are looking into leaving this country to live in another country because they do not want to live under the rule of one of these candidates.  America was the country that all other countries looked to as an example of freedom and democracy.  Now, America has become the laughing stock. 

As much as I miss you, Dad, I am glad you are not alive to witness this.  It would break your heart to see what the citizens of the country you loved so much have become.  I pray that when this election is over, America can recover and become the nation it once was.