Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom





In honor of my mom on Mother's Day, I decided to list all that is her in me (no, I am not talking about her genes).

1.  Hands.  This year I noticed that my hands look just like my mom's.  It's hard to explain how I make this connection....a hand looks like a hand.  It is not like the color of your eyes or the shape of your face...it is just your hands.  But when I look at mine, I can see mom's hands.

2.  Voice.  This was brought to my attention by my sons.  They tell me that many times I sound like my mother.  In fact, some people who knew my mother have told me that it is very surprising to hear my voice and think it's my mom speaking.  Of course, I know that sometimes the things I say are my mother.  When those times happen, I always say that I am "channeling" mom.

3.  Faith.  My mom was not an active member of the Church in her later years but she had a great faith in God.  She always felt that God had a purpose for each of us and until that purpose was fulfilled, we would continue upon this earth.  As she got older and her body was slowly breaking down, she wondered what God had left for her to do before she could go to be with my dad.  This was something we talked about alot. Her rosary gave her great comfort.  In those times when pain filled her body and fear filled her mind, she drew solace from just holding it.  I have also found that my rosary is a way that I connect with my mom in times of need.

4.  Family.  Family was very important to mom.  This is something she definitely instilled in me.  There is nothing more important than family.  We take care of each other and there is nothing we would not do for each other.  She loved her children, their spouses and her grandsons especially her grandsons.  She was so proud of all 3 of them and was very supportive of them in everything they did.  I try very hard to be like my mom that way.  My family is everything to me and even though I may not always agree with their choices, I make sure that they know I am in their corner no matter what.

5.  Sense of Humor.  My mom had a great sense of humor.  She could make anyone laugh.  Sometimes I was not even sure she knew she was funny.  All my friends would say, "your mom is a stitch!"  When I would tell her this, she would look surprised and say it wasn't true.  But she could make you laugh over the most simple things.  I have a sense of humor although my husband and sons say that usually I am the only one who finds something funny.  Most of the time, they laugh just watching me laugh at something I find amusing.  That's me...the entertainment.

6.  People Watching.  Mom loved to people watch.  She would always find a seat in the back of the theatre, middle of the mall, etc.  She always wanted to sit where she could watch people.  Of course with people watching comes commenting...another thing she loved.  I find myself doing it as well much to the amusement of my family.

7.  Football.  Mom loved football especially Notre Dame football.  The standing rule was...don't call her on Saturdays because she was watching Notre Dame football.  Mom would yell at the tv and sometimes stomp out of the room after a very bad play.  I love football but I love Detroit Lions football (yes, I am one of those fans).  It is hard being a Lions fan where I live.  I am surrounded by Packer backers but I am still loyal to them.  Thank goodness my sons are too.  I tend to yell at the tv and stomp out after a particularly stupid play but usually my youngest son is right behind me.

8.  Coloring.  For as long as I can remember, my mom loved to color.  She would always sit and color with me in my coloring books.  After awhile, she would get her own and spend an hour a day just coloring as sort of a get away from the daily grind.  Buying mom coloring books and sets of colorful markers became one of the annual Christmas presents I got her.  Mom looked forward to that small amount of time she spent coloring each day.  She said it was like meditating.  I am a colorer too.  I usually color before bed.  It rests my mind so that I can sleep peacefully.

9.  Animals.  Mom was a dog person.  I am a cat person.  But to mom and me, our dogs and cats are not just pets, they are members of the family.  They are spoiled and treasured and grieved over when they pass.

My mom grew up in an era when women got married and made their families their careers.  She was a stay at home mom.  She left all of the family decisions and finances to my dad as he was the head of the household.  She did everything around the house and wouldn't even consider asking dad to vacuum, cook or do laundry.  Those were women's chores.  Yet, she always taught my sister and I to grow as strong, independent women who did not need to have a man take care of us but could be equal to him.  Because of this, I have taught my sons to cook, do laundry, etc.  I have always told them that women were not put on this earth to wait on them.  That they should be equal partners in their relationships.  The most important thing my mom taught me was to be sure and let my children know how proud I am of them, how I support them always and love them no matter what.  Her last words to me were, "I am so proud of the woman you have become. I love you".

My hope is that when my time comes to leave this earthly life, I will leave a legacy where my sons will be as proud to have me as a mom as I am to have had you as my mom.


                          HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM!  I LOVE YOU AND I MISS YOU!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SPRING....maybe

The calendar says it is spring but here in the UP that is not always the case.  We were spoiled on Saturday with temperatures in the 60s and absolutely beautiful outside. Sunday, we woke up to snow.  Not enough to pile up but enough to cover the grass and the bird feeder in the maple tree.   So far this week, it has been chilly and gloomy but there is no snow.  I am okay with that.  I am a person who has an intense dislike for snow and cold.  If I had the power, winter would start on December 1st and end on December 31st.  A white Christmas and not much else is fine with me.  I look forward to spring as it reminds me that summer is on the way.  But I digress, so back to my thoughts on spring.

This morning I had my coffee in my favorite cozy chair near the front window and surveyed spring.  The bird feeder in the maple tree has become a favorite gathering spot for a variety of birds, squirrels and chipmunks.  My husband says they eat too much and threatens never to refill the feeder again but he always does.  There are beautiful buds on the maple tree as well as on the lilac bush and white birches.  I watch them impatiently each day waiting for those first leaves to appear.  The barn cat who lives on the farm across the road has made his springtime journey across the field and I smile as I watch the little bundle of blonde fur run, stop, look around and then run again.  The sound of raking means that my husband is beginning on his seasonal obsession...the grass.  The plastic coverings are coming off the windows today so when those warm temperatures return, the fresh air can fill the house and chase the stale winter out.  Spring is here at my house. 

It may not be totally spring in the UP yet but there is always hope it will come soon to stay.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Easter Haiku

                                                            His death on the cross
                                                           all our sins are forgiven
                                                             and we will be saved.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Haiku for Palm Sunday

                                                         The King comes this day
                                                          upon a donkey He rides
                                                            Palm Sunday is here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Rosary

In times of stress, worry or fear, we all have something that brings us peace and comfort.  For small children, it can be a teddy bear or a nightlight.  As we get older, it can take the form of a well-worn quilt, a cup of our favorite tea, a cozy chair in a sunny corner or it can be a Bible with favorite scripture verses and prayers.

For me, it has always been the rosary.  I developed this love for the rosary as a young girl.  My mother as well as my grandmother and aunts had always felt that nothing could give one greater peace than the feeling of the beads moving across the fingers while silent prayers were spoken.  Many a time, my mother would begin a novena whenever she felt someone in the family was in need of extra help and not a night would go by that she would not pray the rosary before bed.  In the last weeks of her life, when the pain would get to be too much, she would always ask for her rosary.  Just holding it in her hand brought a sense of peace that was so very apparent on her face. 

I myself have a number of rosaries.  A pink one I received for my First Communion at the age of 7, one with irish green beads given to me by my husband as a reminder of my irish roots and one with beads carved into the shape of roses blessed by the Pope given to me by a priest friend after his trip to Rome.  However, the one which comforts me the most is a rosary made of blue glass.  It was my grandmother's and upon her death, it was given to my mother.  She never used that rosary.  She kept it in a small box in her jewelry case.  10 years ago, my mother gave it to me.  It goes with me everywhere.  It gives me great comfort just to hold it in my hand, feeling each bead just as my mother and grandmother had done in years past.  However, holding the rosary in my hand is really secondary to the prayers which are said with it.  Each prayer is another movement closer to our Lady.  Each prayer is a whisper for help, a call for understanding, a hope for clarity, a plea for intercedence.  It is the love in your mother's eyes as you confide in her, it is the soft touch of her hand when you feel so alone and it is the warmth of her arms hugging you when you are afraid.   It is a reminder that no matter what my life is throwing at me, my heavenly mother Mary will hear, understand and comfort me.

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” -Sister Lucia dos Santos of Fatima

Friday, March 24, 2017

God's Hug (addendum)

I found this and decided this is something I need to remember when I am so overwhelmed with stress that I cannot sleep.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

God's Hug

The other night the stresses in my life overwhelmed me.  They overwhelmed me to the point that at 2 o'clock in the morning I found myself sitting at my dining room table with a cup of tea and my Bible instead of sleeping in my bed.  So many questions and worries were running thru my head that my brain just refused to shut off and let me sleep.  I thought of my dad, gone now over 20 years, and how, when I was a young girl, his tight bear hugs and the smell of his Old Spice aftershave made every worry just disappear.  Oh, how I missed that.  I called to him quietly at 2am and hoped he would hear me from heaven and send me some comfort.  I opened my Bible searching for the words of my heavenly Father that would bring me peace and found myself reading the words in Isaiah 41:13,

 "For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'"

As I read His words, I felt a comforting warmth spread over me as if two strong arms had wrapped me in a protective hug.  I knew then that I could sleep and that the worries that had kept me awake would work themselves out with His help.  I am convinced that my cry for help was heard and that both my earthly father and my heavenly Father came to my rescue.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lenten Inspiration 3/11/2017

"Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ."-- Pope Francis

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Need To Apologize

Both my husband and I are retired, so we do all our banking, bill paying and grocery shopping at the beginning of the month.  Doing things on a once a month basis usually means that we spend a longer amount of time at the bank and the grocery store checkout.  Why I feel the need to apologize to people in line behind me or checking me out or helping with my groceries I do not know, but I do it (to the amusement of my husband).

Yesterday, we went to the bank first.  I had deposits to do, transfering of money from one account to another, money orders and double checking on my tax refund.  It didn't seem like it took a lot of time but I found myself turning at one point to the gentleman behind me and apologizing for having so much to do.  He smiled and said "no problem".  He also looked a bit confused as to why I apologized.  I don't know why I did it, I just did.

At the grocery store the same thing happened.  I shop only once a month therefore I have lots of groceries.  On top of that, I have become a coupon clipper since retiring. Now, I am not an extreme coupon clipper.  I do not carry around an entire book filled with coupons.  I mainly have about 15 to 20 with me when I shop.  However, after the woman checked my groceries thru and I handed her my coupons, I felt the need to turn to the woman standing behind me in line and offer my apologies for taking so long.  She smiled at me with the same confused look as the man at the bank.  When the man bagging my groceries offered to push the cart out to the pick up lane for me, I thanked him and then  apologized to him saying, "this is what happens when you only shop once a month".

My husband finds all this apologizing I do very amusing and in the past has asked why I do it.  But after 43 years of marriage, he has stopped asking.  He chalks it up to "Ellen being Ellen".  I don't know why I do it.  Most of the time, I don't notice I have done it until after the words are out of my mouth.  But I suppose I could be saying something worse so I am not going to worry about it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Lenten Mission 2017

"We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures: we are the sum of the Father's love for us..."  St. Pope John Paul II

Lent is a time for reflection and self-examination. So I decided that as my Lenten mission I would spend each week of Lent choosing one word that I use to describe myself and then focusing on what God's perspective of that trait really is in His eyes.  So often I find that I define myself by the negative traits I have and wish to "fix" them but never really knowing where to start to accomplish it.  Instead of seeing myself as a sum of negative traits, I should be looking at how God sees me as His child.

Lenten week #1

I say: I have felt like a failure when objectives I want to accomplish just seem to fall apart.
God says: You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

Lenten week #2

I say: I have felt guilt about things I've done in the past, even though I've confessed it all as sin and don't do it anymore.
God says: I blot out your sins and remember them no more. Isaiah 43:25

Lenten week #3

I say: Sometimes I have felt so unlovable. How can God possibly keep on loving me?
God says: Nothing can separate us from his love. Romans 8:38-39

Lenten week #4

I say: I tend to be such an insecure person at times.
God says: The righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Lenten week #5

I say:  Sometimes I am so unforgiving, holding grudges against those who I believe have hurt me.
God says: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32

Holy Week

We say:  I have felt alone and depressed.
God says:  I command you; be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord. your God, is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

God sees us as his treasures, his children.

Search the scriptures to learn more about how God sees you and ask him to help you see yourself through his eyes.  Then will you understand your true identity in Him.

(I wish to apologize for not giving credit where credit is due.  The original basis for my Lenten post came from the following website             www.livingfree.org
I liked the post so much that I took it and tailored it to fit me.  I apologize again for not citing the website.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Presidents' Day 2017

Presidents' Day was established not to only honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are celebrated this month but also to honor all the Presidents who have taken on the monumental task of running our country.  Although much can be said about all the Presidents both positive and negative, we all have our favorites.  I will not go into who are my favorites and why.  I am avoiding politics these days.  Instead, I would like to share a favorite quote by President Abraham Lincoln

                                      "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
                                       I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."
                                                                                                          --Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wrote the following post for the school newsletter when I was working as a teacher.  A friend reprinted it in the church newsletter this year as well as posting it on facebook (with my permission, of course).  I want to share it with you on this Valentine's Day.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentines! Who can resist them? Valentines help us to remember family and friends. But what about the valentines God sends?God sends valentines? Why not? Valentines are expressions of love and God loves us all. So why wouldn't God send us valentines, not just on Valentine's Day but all year long! Think about how many ways God sends you valentines -- expressing His love for you. Look at all of creation around you, look into the eyes of smiling children, feel the warmth of a friend's arm around you when life is disappointing, listen to the laughter of a new baby or the stories told by grandparents, feel the peace that fills your soul when you sit in church and listen to God's Holy Word. These are just a few of the valentines God sends you each and every day. So when February 14th comes and goes and the flowers have lost their blooms, the candy has all been eaten and the paper valentines have been tucked away, remember there is One who will continue to send you expressions of His love, if you will only take the time to receive them.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Advice Sharing

The following was on facebook last night and I thought it was an appropriate way to handle the political situation that is stressing out so many people including my husband and myself.  Politics in the last few weeks has gotten so bad that my husband and I only watch local news and are allowing ourselves one rant about the republican government once per day with a time limit of 5 minutes.  We have found this to be a good way to lower our blood pressure on the topic. 

What do you think of the following advice?

Some Wise Advice Circulating:
1. Don't use his name;
2. Remember this is a regime and he's not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him--it doesn't work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
7. Support artists and the arts;
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;
9. Take care of yourselves; and
10. RESIST!
Keep demonstrations peaceful. In the words of John Lennon, "When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game.The establishment will irritate you - pull your beard, flick your face - to make you fight! Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor."

When you post or talk about him, don't assign his actions to him, assign them to "The Republican Administration," or "The Republicans." This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don't like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Inspiration desperately needed!

With everything that has been happening in the news in the last week, I found myself searching for an inspiration that will speak to me, sustain me and give me strength to cope with the coming days, weeks, months and 4 years.  I found that inspiration in Jeremiah.

“‘For I know well the plans I have in mind for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.’” —Jeremiah 29:11


Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2017

 "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

HEALTH is my word for 2017

I resolve to be more healthy in mind, body and spirit in the year 2017.

I will be healthier in body by reworking my diet to include more healthy
foods and less junk.  To put more good nutritional value into my body and
less negative nutrition in.  I will move more even though arthritic knees and
an overweight body screams "NO!".  I will be more responsible in taking my
prescribed medications knowing they are an added value to my good health.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have
been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body."
1 Cor 6:19-20

I will be healthier in mind by using my strengths in my creativity and
intelligence that will exercise my brain power.  Some of these activities will
include:  reading, puzzles, genealogy, needlework, blogging/journaling.

"Anxiety in a man's heart depresses it.  But a kindly word makes
it glad."  Proverbs 12:25

I will be healthy in spirit by moving forward in my spiritual life.  I have not had
a church for 2 years and it is something I miss very much.  I will begin my journey
to find a new and welcoming church to be a part of.  I will start/join a Bible study
group.  I am interested in studying women of the Bible from Eve to Mary.

"Train yourself for devotion, for, physical training is of limited value, but
devotion is much more valuable in every respect, since it holds promise
of life for the present and for the future."  1 Timothy 4:7-8

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Is There Anyone Out There?

I have been writing this blog for a year now and although I have gotten comments from one or two people (comments I appreciate very much), I wonder if there is anyone out there reading what I write.  Am I writing for anyone else or am I writing to myself?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

NOT Resolutions updated for 2017

Every year on New Years Day, I write out my resolutions for the coming year.  The list seems quite long at times and although I have the best of intentions, the resolutions are usually broken and forgotten before January ends.  So this year, I am trying something new.  Instead of making a list of my new year resolutions, I am making a list of my NOT resolutions.

I published these last year (2016), but they still hold true for this year (2017).  I have updated them as some needed a bit of tweeking.

*I will NOT obsess about my weight unless absolutely nothing in my closet fits me right and/or my health becomes an issue related to it.  Unfortunately, this past year my health became an issue when I had a heart scare in July.  Since then I have done a number of things to change my life style into a more healthier one.

*I will NOT come down on my family for putting things away willy-nilly even though I personally prescribe to the theory "everything has a place and everything in its place".  I am pleased to say that a number of times when I saw something totally in the wrong place, I found myself saying, "let it go, Ellen, it's just a ...".

*I will NOT let depression take over as I watch or read about what's happening in the world today even though 80% of what is happening is dreary, despicable and depressing. What has helped most with this is limiting my viewing of news shows like CNN and avoiding discussions on topics that stress me out.

*I will NOT "sweat the small stuff" even though this goes against my OCD big time.

*I will NOT wallow in the regrets of my past but instead will focus on the future.

*I will NOT worry about what I don't have but be grateful for the blessings I do have-my husband, my children and most of all, my God.