Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hawks and Doves

This regal creature is a sharp shinned hawk. I saw one like him in my backyard Wednesday. He had captured a pure white pigeon, and was in the process of eating it when I walked outside. He saw me, and tried to fly with the pigeon, but only made it a few feet, since his prey was nearly as big as he was.

I went inside for my camera, and he was still there when I came back out. I crept closer and closer to him, and although he was aware of me, he continued to eat. Only when I was within eight feet of him did he fly away, leaving his pigeon in my yard.

I asked my son to dispose of the pigeon, and he came inside to tell me that there was a band on its leg. We got the information off the band, and I went online to see if I could find the owner of the bird. I discovered that it is a racing or homing pigeon, and using the letters and numbers on the band, I found the name of the club the pigeon belonged to. I emailed the club secretary to tell him about what had happened to the beautiful bird, but haven't heard anything back yet. The pigeon racing club is based in Louisiana. I wonder if the pigeon flew such a long distance? I don't know a thing about homing pigeons, but I seem to remember that they can find their way home from a very long distance. I'm so sorry that this one met his demise in my backyard.

The pictures in this post are not the birds involved in my backyard adventure, but they look exactly like them. Aren't they wonderful?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gardening with Mom

My mom has been feeling blue lately, probably because spring weather has made her homesick for her home in Kansas. My sister suggested bringing her to my house at least one day a week, to get her away from her apartment, and to give her something to look forward to. So I asked Mom if she would like to help me in my flower garden today, and she was delighted with the idea!

The day was cloudy and threatened rain, but it held off until this evening, when we were finished. We brought her little cairn terrier Chuy with us, and he had a ball playing in the yard.

First, we planted the four Better Boy tomato plants. Then we started cleaning out the flower bed, digging up as many canna lily bulbs as we could find because I am tired of them and they are trying to take over my garden. We planted day lilies, hollyhocks, four o'clocks, impatiens and begonias. I told her that there is no rhyme nor reason to my garden--I just plant what I think looks pretty or whatever people give to me. :o) Most of the plants are pretty old-fashioned.

I trimmed back the turk's cap, esperanza (yellow bells) and a big old asparagus fern. Then we moved to the patio, where I moved all of my potted plants into their places for the spring and summer and planted some cilantro and a frosty pink brug. I can't wait until that flowers.

I was surprised at Mom's gardening abilities. She showed me how to use a sharpshooter shovel, got down on her hands and knees to plant and dig, and kept up with me in every way. We were tired at the end of the afternoon, but we agreed that it was a "good tired." I'm sure we'll both sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Gorgeous Texas Day

It is 85° here today. The sky is blue, the clouds are fluffy and white and birds are singing like crazy. My tea olive is blooming, and smells heavenly. (That's a picture of a tea olive on the left, but it's not mine).

I took Reece out with me to plant impatiens in my front flower bed. He dug in the dirt for a few minutes, but then he got tired of gardening and headed off down the street with me trailing after him.We came inside, but I still need to plant flowers in the backyard as well as in the front.

Mom and I got some flower boxes to hang on her patio railing last week, and now they are planted with impatiens, also. They look so pretty, and she's really enjoying them. Her herbs are doing well, except for the basil, which never came up. The tomato plants we bought are thriving in the little community garden at her complex.

My peace roses are blooming, and they are the prettiest they have ever been. They are usually mostly yellow, with pink edging the petals. This year they have equal amounts of pink and yellow and they're huge! We used a few of them as the centerpiece for the table Easter Sunday.

I made a pot of ham and beans yesterday, using the leftover ham from Sunday. I boil the beans with onion in water and chicken broth, then when they are soft, I add a can of diced tomatoes, the meat (browned hamburger is good in it, too), some garlic, a splash of cooking sherry if I have it (you can also add lemon juice), and plenty of Cajun seasoning. We eat ours over rice, but some homemade bread or cornbread is good with it, too.

God blesses us with such bounty, and days like today make me think of the little prayer we said as kids:

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything!
Amen †

Monday, March 24, 2008

Panis Angelicus

This sounds like angels singing:

Panis Angelicus

Panis angelicus
Fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
Figuris terminum.
O, res mirabilis!
Manducat Dominum.
Pauper, pauper,
Servus et humilis.
Pauper, pauper,
Servus et humilis.

Te trina Deitas
unaque poscimus
Sic nos tu visita
sicut te colimus
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus
Ad lucem
quam inhabitas.
Ad lucem
quam inhabitas.

Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings.
O, miraculous thing!
This Body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

O God, one substance in Three Persons,
we beseech Thee,
come to visit us,
as we adore Thee:
guide us on Thy paths
whither we direct our course,
to the light
wherein Thou dost dwell.

to the light
wherein Thou dost dwell.

The Road to Emmaus

Years ago, when I was still Lutheran and living in Japan, I went on a retreat. One of the exercises we did was to put ourselves in a scene from the Bible, and write down what we experienced. The scene I chose was about the travelers on the road to Emmaus to whom Jesus appeared. This passage has been very dear to me ever since I made my pretend journey on the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24: 13-35

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?"

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

And he said to them, "What things?"

And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see."

And he said to them, "Oh foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us for it is now toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.

They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

May our eyes be opened so that we recognize Jesus in the blessing and breaking of the Bread. Amen †

Holy Week Was Awesome!

I'm learning new things and having new experiences since we started attending Mass at St. Pius X. We had only attended the Latin Mass there until Holy Thursday, so I was eager to see how the Novus Ordo compared.

I very much like the priest there, and loved the procession for reposing the Blessed Sacrament. I have a question about that. The priest changed his vestment, then, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, he walked under a canopy carried by four men. Is there a name for the canopy? (It's not an umbrella/ombrellino). I have never seen this done before except on EWTN (our regular parish is quite liberal—read irreverent). I still have so much to learn about Catholicism!

The choir at St. Pius is in a loft, and they have a beautiful pipe organ. They sing some songs in Latin, even during the Novus Ordo. And there are statues of saints everywhere! Once during the TLM I looked up at the choir loft, and there was a monk in a brown robe playing the organ. It made me smile.

At the end of the Mass on Thursday, the priest and altar servers stripped the altar. Mom and I went back on Good Friday at 3 PM. The Good Friday readings are heart wrenching, and Veneration of the Cross is so beautiful.

That night at 11 PM, I went to the Tenebrae prayer service at our regular parish. I have gone to it every year since we were confirmed, and find it so moving. Tenebrae is an ancient prayer service, and many Catholics today may not know about it. Our parish administrator started it in our parish, and has continued the tradition. Rather than me describing it, read about it here.

Celebrating Tenebrae on Holy Thursday makes it feel as if you are with Christ in the Garden, waiting and watching with Him.

On Saturday, we went to the Easter Vigil Mass at 8 PM at St. Pius. Oh how lovely! There is so much symbolism packed into the Easter Vigil that it's hard to know where to begin. Read about it here.

We sat in the dark church while the priest blessed the fire outside, then lit and blessed the Easter Candle. The candle was carried into the darkened church, one of our candles (everyone in the congregation is holding a candle) was lit from the Easter candle. Then the flame was passed to each person until the whole church was glowing with candlelight.

The readings are long, and I was disappointed that not all of them were read. One man was baptized and eighteen people confirmed. Their faces were so happy! It is wonderful to see the Church grow, and to add them to our Catholic family.

Easter Sunday we had eight for dinner. It was a lovely, relaxed day. We had a mesquite smoked, glazed, spiral cut ham, potato casserole, glazed carrots, green beans, salad, yeast rolls and carrot cake for dessert, made by my sweet daughter. Our little grandson liked his Easter baskets and being the center of attention. I missed our oldest son and his family, but they were with us earlier this month.

And now begins the 50 day celebration of Easter. I love being Catholic! The Catholic season of Easter begins on Easter Sunday and ends at Pentecost, May 11 this year. Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

The Resurrection Homily of St. John Chrysostom

Let all pious men and lovers of God rejoice in the splendour of this feast.

Let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord.

Let those who have born the burden of Lent now receive their pay.

And those who have toiled since the first hour,

let them now receive their due reward.

Let anyone who came after the third hour be grateful to join the feast.

And those who may have come after the sixth hour,

let them not be afraid of being too late,

for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first.

He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour

as well as to him who has toiled from the first.

Yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first.

He rewards the one and is generous to the other.

He repays the deed and praises the effort.

Come you all, enter into the joy of your Lord.

You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward.

You rich and you poor, dance together.

You sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day.

You who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today.

The table is richly laden, enjoy the royal banquet.

The calf is a fatted one, let no one go away hungry.

All of you, enjoy the banquet of faith;

all of you receive the riches of His goodness.

Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal has been revealed.

Let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave.

Let no one fear death for the death of our Saviour has set us free.

He has destroyed death by enduring it.

He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom.

He has angered it by allowing it to taste of His flesh.

When Isaiah foresaw this, he cried,

“O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world.”

Hades is angered because it is frustrated.

It is angered because it has been mocked.

It is angered because it was destroyed.

It is angered because it has been reduced to naught.

It is angered because it is now captive.

It seized a Body and, lo! It discovered God!

O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen and you are abolished!

Christ is risen and the demons are cast down.

Christ is risen and the angels rejoice.

Christ is risen and life is freed.

Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead.

Christ, being risen from the dead, has become

the Leader and Reviver of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and power unto ages of ages.


St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

I thank "Athanasius," who posts at Steve Ray's forum for posting this homily and encouraging me to share it here with my friends and family.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holy Week Begins

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. We went to the TLM at St. Pius X, and as always, it was lovely. What a wonderful way to begin Holy Week.

There is a rumor that there will be liturgical dancing during the Holy Thursday Mass at our regular church, so I will probably go to St. Pius, instead. I do love the Tenebrae service at our regular parish, though, so I plan to attend that. Then back to St. Pius on Friday for Veneration of the Cross and Communion Service, and on Saturday for the Latin Mass and Holy Saturday Morning Prayer.

The Easter Vigil at St. Pius begins at 8 PM, with the lighting of the paschal fire, blessing of baptismal water, reception of RCIA, and the Vigil Mass. I really love the Easter Vigil Mass. Everything from the fire, the candles slowly lighting up the church, the long readings that bring Christ's passion to life, the new Catholics(!!!), the music--it is all so wonderful. It's the most beautiful time of the year.

I pray that anyone reading this will resolve to keep this week holy in your own life, and that you will be able to participate in the beautiful, ancient traditions of the Church. Amen

Friday, March 14, 2008

Road Trip

My mom, my sister and I went to Fredericksburg on Thursday. It's a charming town in the Texas Hill Country.

As we drove down Main Street, we saw the tower of a church. I had heard about St. Mary's, and wanted to see it, so we headed that direction. What a lovely church it is! And the old church, next to it, is now their Adoration Chapel.

After exploring the church, we had lunch at a German restaurant, visited an herb garden, then browsed through some of the shops along Main Street. We ended the afternoon tasting wine in one of the little wine shops, and buying three bottles to bring home. (Mine is peach and apricot sweet chardonnay). Yum.

The day started out foggy and chilly, but the sun came out, the sky turned blue, and by mid-afternoon the temperature was in the 80s.

I love Texas. :o)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Empty Nest Coming Soon

Our youngest son, his wife, and their two year old son have found a house to rent and will be moving in April. I'm the one who searched the on-line real estate ads for weeks to help them find a place. I've gone with them to see the houses, reassured them that they are taking the right step, and rejoiced with them Monday when they learned that their application for the house had been accepted.

But oh boy, do I have mixed emotions. Thank God the house they found is not far from us, and I know that we will see them often. It will be exciting for them to decorate their house and plant flowers in the yard. They will enjoy having their friends over for barbecues, to watch the Spurs games, for birthday parties. Our son will have his own garage where he can work on his car. Our daughter-in-law will love having her own home, I know.

If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself, you're right. I know that this is a good thing, so why do I have this ache in my heart at the thought of them leaving? It's because I will miss them so much, even while I'm ready for them to be on their own.

It will be alright; it's just another passage.

Friday, March 7, 2008


It's 1:30 AM and I can't sleep. I feel like I need to guard the house. Ron has fixed the front door so that it will lock again. It looks ugly, but it's "temporary" he said.

Anyway, I've been thinking about when our first grandson, Caelen, was born. We live 3 hours from Houston, which is where they lived at the time. My son called around midnight to say that they were on the way to the hospital. I threw some clothes into a suitcase, got in my little black Acura, put a CD in the stereo and drove 80 miles an hour all the way.

The CD I listened to over and over was the soundtrack from Don Juan DeMarco, and my favorite song on it was When You Love A Woman. I never heard that song again without remembering that middle of the night drive to Houston. :o)

I got to the hospital in plenty of time. I'm so fortunate that my daughter-in-law wanted me to be in the room for the birth of the baby. As the time drew near, I stood on one side of her and my son on the other, to support her and help her breathe during labor. Suddenly the doctor said to me, "If you want to see your grandson born, come back here." I stepped behind the doctor, and as my daughter-in-law pushed, I saw his black hair. A few more pushes, and out he came, the most beautiful baby in the world!

His daddy cried; I cried. I could hardly wait to hold him, but I stayed back, taking pictures and watching as mommy and daddy made his acquaintance. The nurses got him all cleaned and bundled into a blanket and put a little knit cap on his head. At last my son asked if I wanted to hold him.

I can't begin to describe the feeling I had, holding my first grandchild. You think that you can never love another baby as much as you love your own babies, but that is not true. Holding that tiny little baby, who looked so much like my own babies, and was the child of my child was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I held his tiny little hand in mine, and that tiny little hand held my heart, right from the beginning.

Caelen is about 3 years old in the picture in this post. It's one of my favorite pics of him.

He will be 12 years old in May. He still holds my heart in his hand, and I thank God for him.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our Home Was Burglarized!

This morning someone broke into our home and stole some of my jewelry, a digital camera, and my son's X-Box. The scary thing is that our daughter-in-law and 2 year old grandson were asleep in their upstairs bedroom while the burglar (or burglars) were here. My husband and son were both at work.

I go to my mom's every morning to give her medications to her. While I was there, our daughter-in-law called me. She was crying and said she had bad news. I immediately panicked, afraid that she had lost the baby. (She has had 2 miscarriages and 1 ectopic pregnancy). But she said that someone had been in the house.

She had been asleep in her room with our grandson. They keep a fan running in there to drown out sound, so she didn't hear the front door being broken open. She said that she heard some sounds like someone moving around, but thought that it was me. She was lying there awake, but still drowsy when someone pushed the bedroom door open. She saw him stick his head in, and I guess he realized that someone was there because he closed the door and went away. She thought it was my husband, and thought it odd that he had opened the door. She got up and looked out the window, but there were no cars in the driveway. She came out of the bedroom and looked into our room, and saw that the mattress was pushed partway off the bed, and then saw my jewelry all over the floor. That's when she realized what had happened.

She said she started to shake, went back to get her son and called 911. She ran outside calling for help, and our neighbor across the street told her to come to their house. She called our son and me from there. The police arrived within minutes. They searched the house to see if anyone was still here, but I'm sure they ran away as soon as they realized someone was home.

They told us that this is the third burglary in our area in the past 2 days, and they really want to get these guys. There hadn't been a break-in in over a year in our little city until now. A team came out to take fingerprints and they took me into each room to see if anything was missing or if there was anything that shouldn't be there. They were hoping the thieves might have dropped something, but they didn't.

I am so thankful that the thieves didn't harm our grandson and daughter-in-law. It's a horrible feeling to know that someone was in our home, looking through our things, taking whatever they wanted. I hope the police will be able to catch them soon.

My husband is repairing the broken door now. We've lost the feeling of safety and security we've always had in our home. I wish that could be repaired as easily as the door.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Texas Family Weekend

What a grand weekend we had. Our oldest son, Jason, and his family arrived Friday night. They live about 3 hours away from us.

Saturday morning when I got up, I started making chocolate chip pancakes. The Grands always request them for breakfast when they are here. It's a family tradition. :o) While I fed the kids, Ron and Jason went out for breakfast, and then downtown to Penners where our son bought a whole new wardrobe. He and his beautiful wife have lost weight during the past year, and they both look wonderful.

I took Jason's children with me to visit my mom after they had breakfast. She was delighted to see them, and they had fun playing and running with her little cairn terrier. Mom has 7 great-grandchildren, and 2 more on the way.

The kids spent the afternoon in the pool, believe it or not. The weather here was warm over the weekend, and they can't wait to swim when they are here. They were exhausted that evening, and went to bed early, some of them slightly sunburned.

That evening Jason, Ron and I took our youngest grandson (our youngest son's two year old) to visit my mom. She had a lot of company that day.

On Sunday, our oldest son and I went to the Latin Mass. He enjoyed it as much as I do, and commented that it was refreshing to hear a real Catholic homily.

That afternoon Ron grilled chicken. All 3 of our kids, their spouses (except one) and our 5 grandkids were here, plus our daughter's best friend and her 2 little boys. It was a houseful, and we loved it! Kelly's friend brought a plate full of gyoza, and we devoured them before dinner. They were a perfect appetizer. My granddaughters, 8 and 5, helped me make apple dumplings for dessert.

Kelly brought her Dance, Dance Revolution game for the kids to play, and it was fun watching them try to keep up with the music.

Everyone left between 6 and 7 PM. Ron and Mom went to the 7 PM Mass at our parish church, and the house was incredibly still and quiet. I was tired, but happy to have had my family here, if only for a couple of days. Family is a gift from God.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sandi!

My middle sis (remember my Sissy post?) had an important birthday yesterday, March 1. Her daughter took her to Las Vegas for the weekend, to celebrate. I hope they are having a blast!

Happy, happy birthday, Sandi.

I love you!