Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Moving Forward

As the year ends I can't help but think about moving forward. It is sort of comforting that we are always moving forward. Life shoves us along its river of doings and beings. Sometimes I swim with the current - thats a good day. Sometimes I get hit by a free flowing log - not so good! Sometimes I get hung up in slack water and float. But the river is going somewhere and thankfully as long as I stay in it I will get to the great Ocean of timelessness - or at least partake in the great timeless feast God has prepared for us.  Maybe I'll get to serve at table! Maybe I'll get to wash dusty feet. Hopefully I am getting prepared now as I push forward each day. 

Then there is the endless loop. Sunrise. Sunset. Feed animals. Peace for thirty seconds. Feed animals. Peace.....

Children are the master teachers of helping us adults to move forward. Their lives are moving at a much faster pace than ours so if we are lucky we latch on to their energy and ride the wave. After spending a whirlwind day with my granddaughters I wonder where the time went. I see their fresh, beauty and golden smiles and it seems that they have never been far away. Then the day is gone like the river in spate and I cannot grasp but the memory of it. It is a super sense of loss but then they return as if time has not really past....sure they are older but their freshness, discovery, openness to love carries me on its lovely electric turn bringing me to life again. I find it even in my adult children (now that I have seven instead of five) their youth, their discoveries, their deepening sense of relationship carries me along the banks with effervescent speed. To gain children through marriage is a special delight. There is a purity there and a timeless river of discovering a person. Lauren has been this for me - such a beautiful woman in her own right but such a wonderful friend and it is a delight and such a gift for her to have joined our life and family. She has jumped into our river of life bringing with it so many gifts and I can sail down this river and partake......

Well I am moving forward now to fence fixing, granola making and whatever else rears its foamy head today....but what a grand opportunity!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


This morning as LuLu bobbed ahead of me on the morning walk I was thinking about animals. Go figure! Acutally I was composing in my mind the final chapter of a book I am working on. It had to do with knowing. There is an interesting point in a relationship with a horse when they accept you and their home. You can see it in their eyes. When they first come they hold back commitment - they don't risk their comfort, their trust.

When I traded my first horse for Max it was a devastating decision for me. I get attached. When I found out the "good" home I was promised was a lie I mourned my decision and worried for years about where my good old Arabian had ended up. I decided right away to not get attached to this big, red, roman nosed horse. And he felt the same way. Because of his injuries he had been passed around and the year before I got him was stuffed away at a college somewhere to be politely neglected.

No, I wasn't going to commit. I wasn't going to go through the gut wrenching separation again! As I looked at Max in the stall the cold, blank look in is eyes assured me we were on the same path. As I came out regularly to work him I saw a change take place. At some point I saw recognition in the almost unreadable eyes. Then I saw that he was looking for me (not always happily) but still he had crossed the bridge of commitment. He had reached out. At that moment I realized that I had already met him halfway. We were suspended over the turbulent waters of chance. We were willing to risk everything for this relationship. I saw for the first time what I was blind to before: the knowing in a horse's eyes. They changed.

You can have all the belief, the doctrines, the dotted i's, the crossed t's in the world but until you know - I mean come to know - the person of God then you are just stuck on the far side of the bridge. Religion is ridiculous without meeting Him, letting him in, taking the risk. I stood in the stall waiting for proof, waiting to climb out of neglect, of being passed around, not finding a home. But then He came - never wavering, never leaving, always loving.....and that's what Max taught me about relationships. Unless a seed fall into the ground and die it remains all my relationships, no matter what, Max taught me to reach out and take the risk. It is pretty funny that with all my intelligence that it took him to start the relationship! Thanks Max.

Picture of Hannah our new guard giant dog above. She is the sweetest!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hannah, Tango and LuLu

Marygate has widened its tent to include two more goat babies and an Anatolian Shepherd dog to guard my flock. It is good to get new life even though it changes my "comfortable" schedule. Night feedings and worries about youngsters reminds me of how little I like my routine changed!

I haven't focussed enough on Advent but God is faithful and is nudging me to think about serving Him better. In a discussion about the Beatitudes I realized for the first time that the reward of the beatitude is for this life. Frankly I have skimmed over the beatitudes for many years, acknowledging their efficacy for life and b/c they are Jesus' words! But the hard noggin finally realized that practicing them now produces the comfort, the land, seeing God...etc - all they promise is produced when we mourn, are peacemakers, are meek. I have been concentrating on being a peacemaker with my tongue - quite impossible to do on my own! Even when I am "justifyably" angry at a situation I am trying to see how I can bring peace and hope to all those around me. A life's project as my tongue is so unruly and the brain and attitude that feeds it!

LuLu my week old baby is capering about the house as I write - quite dangerous!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Profile in Courage

I discovered the meaning of courage the other day. It existed in an exceptional family as they buried their wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter. Suffice it to say that Cindy, who went to be with the Lord, is an exceptional person herself. She acted upon the grace bestowed on her in life and increased it hundredfold. She is the epitome of the servant of Christ. She suffered as Jesus suffered, no greater honor than this. And she bore it with utmost courage and faith and bequeathed it to not only her husband and children but all who ever met her here on earth.

I had the privilege to be her sister in law. And for all the 14 months of illness the outpouring of love and faith cannot be measured. And now she has graduated and been given greater responsibilities. She doubled her talents and as the parable says she is sharing in her master's joy. But her next task is to pray for us from the seat of the throne of God. And I believe she takes that task very seriously. Cindy never shirked, she was always 110 percent in earthly life, she will now give her all to pray for us and the hurdles we face every day. Cindy didn't want to leave and fought so very bravely to stay. But in the end she submitted to Our Lord's perfect will.

It is incomprehensible - the will of God. It is heartbreaking - the will of God. It is everything but despair and Cindy taught that to all of us. We do have perfect peace whose heart is stayed on Thee!

Congraulations Cindy - you've made it! Although I miss you already, I sense so clearly your elation, your peace, your energy as you meet the Beloved, and reach your hand back to us that we might follow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mailbox Saga

There is a lot of bittersweet stuff going on right now in Marygate life. I guess it is time to sorta lighten it up by telling the "mailbox saga". Three years ago when we moved here, we proudly put out our Rubbermaid mailbox (personally I thought it ugly but that is another story). Within the first week it was annihilated. Leo glued it back together whereupon in the ensuing rest of the year it repeatedly felt the blows of the neighborhood hoodlums.

One day, after many fixin's, our neighbor told us that he spied our mailbox about a mile down the road. The boys finally figured out it just pulled out of the ground so they gleefully carried it with them.

So, then Leo decided to get the strongest mailbox we could legally get. (You know where this is headed don't ya?) It was so heavy I had trouble carrying it anywhere. The post was cast aluminum steel, the box welded to it and the whole sunk in three feet of concrete. We were so proud of that mailbox. I can't think why I didn't take a photo of it for posterity!

The first go the batboys had at it didn't yield a dent. So they unloaded as much shot at a short distance and blew all the numbers and paint off of it. Leo trudged down there and repainted it and put on new numbers. It looked just as good as when we first got it. It got a few blows in the coming months but we finally thought we'd beat them.

A month ago, we came out early one Sunday morning and found that they had taken a sledge hammer to it. So powerful were the blows or so dedicated I should say, they broke the weld and put deep dents all in the mailbox itself. It hung there forlornly in the October dawn.

SO after much counsel we decided to get a cheap mailbox and take it in every night. So for the last month Leo puts it out in the morning and picks it up when he gets home from work. This lasted for about a month.

Another Sunday morning and we walk out to find that they had used their truck to drive over the post, set in three feet of concrete mind you, until they broke it in half. Off to the store where we bought another post, this time six feet of treated 4x4 with a vinyl sleeve for looks. We dug the hole over four feet this time and prepared to pour in the concrete.

Then I had a brainy idea. Our neighbors had left some old horse drawn farm implements on our property. One was particularly heavy. Why not put the post in the middle of it? They would do heavy damage to any truck that might try to run over it.

It took ten years off my life to watch Leo maneuver the heavy, cumbersome mower onto the side of the road. But he did great job. As the mower settled we realized a tongue of metal made a perfect perch for the mailbox. So we dispense with the post. Now we are really country!

I only hope that the destruction stops. These particular boys ran over some other people's boxes and ended up doing significant damage to their truck. They were discovered so I hope that they can do something constructive with their lives! It is a shame when fun is so destructive of time and money.

I have put a picture of our mailbox b/c it is so funny!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Simple Joys

The sun is shining and the breeze is like velvet against the face. Bugs are down and it seems like the perfect fall weather. And I have a twelve hour old email from my son who is in Afghanistan and you can't imagine how beautiful that feels.

And it was great to walk around the back fields yielding to God's call to be with Him. And to know at least a little the utter beauty of Him who loves us. "You are higher than the heavens, the world could not contain you...but you dwell within our hearts. There is none like Him."

That is what astounds me....the wonder of Our Lord and his stooping to make sure we could know the Way to Him. I have been preparing a segment on Baptism and just delving into it made me realize how we are indelibly changed when that water puts to death our sin. I realized that whether I choose to follow Him or not, I am His. Please God that I will always be yours! May I cease to displease you in all I do or say or think. I refuse to be my lowest denominator. I refuse, especially on such a beautiful day, to believe that my faults are outside the realm of God's transforming power. I guess that is why he doesn't repair us - He transforms us completely so that we become who He always meant us to be!

Thank you Lord that we have only moments with which to build our lives. The burden of the past and future is too hard to bear. So in Your mercy you parse it out so that our steps may be sure. I will trust in You.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Glass is Full

Okay so I don't believe in the glass half empty theory. After all, if the glass is half full of water the other half must be full of air. Now in my estimation you would die a lot sooner of lack of air than water. So.....if I see the glass as half empty I am throwing my lot in with the air. I guess what I am getting at is that life always has opportunities. It always offers hope. It always offers choices that will determine where we will spend eternity.

I used to divide humans into two camps, the self-confident and the insecure. I, subscribing to the latter, would gravitate towards the former somewhat like a parasite. I guess I hoped that some of that courage would rub off - at the very least I could hide behind it. Then low and behold I found out that what I was, was the same! It is a polar issue: we wield power one way or the other. I had just as much power to change something, like a relationship, by my actions or refusal to act. I had power to the negative. I had a courage to move and shake that was very submerged but nonetheless there. So in a way I think of myself as the half glass of air. Both personality types are needed to run the human race. There is a purpose, an important purpose, for the depressive personality. For the self-confident have their own "power to the positive" to control or be controlled by. We can drown in a person's half glass of water.

Now I am not sure that this is important at all except for this: either power or personality has a potential for destruction unless it is properly submitted and humbled. How? By absolutely understanding our life and our place and purpose in it. Either you believe that your glass is all you have or that your glass is provided by someone else (and you know Who I am getting at) as a testing ground.

We are living in pivotal times. As a historian I take comfort in history - as a child I used to take great comfort in it. I always believed back then that the bad stuff was over and I was fortunate to live in good times. I have always loved my country and have been grateful to be a citizen of it. I have long since realized that the times are not static - there is always something of which to fight and speak. Evil is always present. But as Jesus says, "I have overcome the world." May we turn the gifts God has given each of us to goodness, and have the courage to stand, and die, for it.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I was speaking with my neice, an intelligent, thoughtful young lady of twelve the other day. She came to sit with me as the dining room contingant were discussing politics. Because there were more able bodied and adroit speakers than myself I just sat on the sidelines with my crochet. She said, "I hate talking about politics." I answered, "I don't enjoy it but sometimes it is necessary. My idea of voting is very simple. The bottom line is, is the candidate for abortion or not? If a person cannot get it right at the level of our unborn children then they can't get anything right."

I have had that ideology for a long time and it has never failed me. Because ultimately God gives authority. Jesus said to Pilate, "You would not have authority over me where it not from my Father in heaven." So as I vote I believe I must vote for Life which can only come from God. If I ever vote for death at this most precious basic level I cannot call myself a Catholic, Christian, human being. Lots of people talk about how the pro-life candidates start wars etc....I am not talking about people being perfect. But murder of our babies who are the most innocent can NEVER be a person worthy of being a public servant.

Okay War. Who in their right mind wants war? That is insane. And there are insane people out there who want our country wiped off the face of the earth. They want all of those unlike them to be either converted or killed. Ther is a group of people who have this mindset. How we deal with that is very different from person to person. But the bottom line is this: God will judge us for killing our children either by a foreign power or our own astute ability to do ourselves in.

I pray for His mercy on all of us, but must, must welcome His justice and partake in it. After all His Son did and he was most innocent of all. I would find myself in wonderful company to carry His cross in any way He sees fit for me.

Friday, October 17, 2008


"Hope does not disappoint us...." You'll find that in Romans five right after Paul talks about all the things that make us three dimensional. I hope you read it. It is the first five verses of that passage. Hope must be divine. Anyway I believe it is. What I wrote about fear was a frustrated cry from the heart. It was informing you a hidden part of me. But it wasn't the last word. I am still in a dark place right now but the historian in me, the faith child in me clings to hope not as a rope on a cliff, but as arms holding me all the time. And it is in the dark places where I get to exercise that will that says to evil and the Evil One, "No matter what you throw at me I will not doubt that God has me in his arms and He will save me from all harm." It is a chance to "set my face like flint, knowing I will not be put to shame" as the suffering servant speaks of Himself in Isaiah. In fact it is my defining passage. I love that image to "set my face like flint" even as the enemy plucks my beard. I hope you read that passage also, I think it is chapter 49.

I do envy people who have hope naturally, courage naturally but that is not my path. I believe God has made me the way I am as a safety for my soul. In the horse world wise people say that we tend to buy horses that mirror our personalities. That was a major insight to me when I realized that Max is just about the strongest willed horse in the kingdom. If he doesn't back down from a buckskin mare whose name is Duchess and uses her back legs like battering rams then I am in trouble. Yet I had to laugh at God's joke. He has such a wonderful sense of humor! I have this will strong to the negative thanks!

Hope will never disappoint. There is nothing outside of Our Lord's blessed sight or intervention. There is nothing that is not from His Hand if we are in his arms and wanting His will in our lives. What a comforting thought!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I wanted to greet the day worthy of its beauty. The dawn is just crisping over the treetops and the animals are restless, but not yet yelling, for their modicum of breakfast. Soon.....

I think that when I came out of the womb the first feeling I encountered was fear. If I could have spoken I am convinced that it would have been that. And it has been my major battle my whole life. I think the worst thing is that it makes me mean and small spirited and that is a true battle. I realize how thin a veneer is my front of courage. Everyday I ask the Holy Spirit for courage realizing that I have none and only hope for it.

I cannot defeat the fear that is part of me. I cannot separate it from myself. My own battle is a conflict that only lowers its head, it does not leave.

How comfortable I am! How I surround myself with that which is unthreatening to me! How I am so careful to not injure the bubble I protect myself with! All the time I know that this bubble is so fragile and it is so patched that my vision through it is distorted.

I have asked God why I am the way I am. Why has fear been such a part of my very soul - inseparable? Why is my life such battle? Conflict with myself is really all I understand or have ever understood. If it brings me to God then I thank Him. But it is an uncomfortable bedfellow. I wish sometimes I could just fling it off and be free of it. That I must look forward to.

Oh wretched woman that I am! That which I want to do I fail to do. That which I want to be is as unreachable as the stars. To be a fine person through and through evades me and teaches me the mercy of God. Not that I love fear nor like what it does to me, but if it is the only vehicle that brings me to my knees then I must welcome it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Simply Wise

I was reading Archbishop Fulton J Sheen last night. He is such a wonderful writer and holy man. He spoke about how only the simple and the wise can know God. And the link between the two is humility. He said at the Nativity there were the shepherds and the Wise men. So I thought, which am I? And I decided that I would love to be simple and my tortured mind won't let be. So I must settle for simply wise. My wisdom is this: I don't really know anything but that Jesus' died so that I might live. I can't figure out the Trinity but I believe it. I can't figure out what will happen to me or any that I love, but I believe in His Great Love for them. Sheen was, in a sense, combining the two - the Wise men were smart enough to know that they didn't know so they sought. The shepherds were wise enough to see heaven's host and know that something supernatural was happening.

Those who cannot know God are those who think they know already. They have no need of God because they know - they cannot be taught ignorance nor realize their ignorance. Their quest is only a search to prove what they already believe to be true. This to me would be the greatest tragedy of my life - to think I know and cannot be taught, cannot be humbled by my most gracious Lord - Jesus reduce me to love. Please Lord, let me always be humbled every moment of my life - stooping to enter the cave where you were born and standing to find myself in heaven's land.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cultivating Silence

When you have tinnitus as I do, silence is not an option anymore. When you have goats silence ceases except for rare moments. I am learning to stop when the farm noises cease. If I can block out the ringing in my ears then I savor the silence. I realized the other day that it probably isn't silent in heaven. The praises of our God will be constantly sung. So His silence must be of a different type. I guess it is the silence of complete fulfillment, completion, attainment, no more longing. So I decided to try to cultivte God's silence - being still in His presence and savoring the meatand drink that is His grace and presence. His silence isn't the absence of sound as it is down here. I don't think so anyway.

Many years ago, as a young woman of nineteen or so, I had a vision. I had gone to pray out in a field early in the morning. It was a bright sunny morning in summer. A tractor already was threading its way across a field and its steady drone was rather peaceful. It looked like an ant crawling across the grasses. That is the last thing I remembered for awhile.

Suddenly there appeared an enormous angel ( at least I think it was, but it was a being that I could see) in the distance. But it wasn't the sight of it that held me, it was the sound. There was singing - and such a singing that it was life itself. It fed me as no mel has ever fed me. I wanted to be gathered up into this song. The physical feeling of it has never left me. The silence of God is life itself. The praises of God sung by us IS our food. And it is the sublimest energy - of course beyond description. At that time God buried in my core His song and I understand in a minute way why my soul longs for Him and will not be happy until I enter that song.

When I awoke I was laying flat on the ground and had no idea what time it was. The tractor was gone. I picked myself up, wondering where I had been, contemplating the absolute sound of silence that was vibrating in my being.

I promptly stepped on two honey bees, on in each foot. I had to perform that night with a dance troup. I floated home walking on the outside of my feet. After the stinging left I was perfectly fine. I performed and the next morning my feet swelled up and I was out for the count. Down to earth!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Came to Love You Late

Hey is anybody out there? It is funny that the reason I created this blog no longer exists! Anyway I do have an active brain that can't help musing and hoping it does some good for someone and maybe interesting once and awhile.

My mind has been absorbed with womanhood of late. I can't seem to get away with it. Or feminity perhaps. I saw it at my son's wedding. I see it in my granddaughters. I witness Evil's onslaught to warp it. I see the absolute importance of understanding gender differences. And because I understand it, the onslaught to warp it makes perfect sense.

At the beginning, Satan saw God's intent for human beings because they were unlike any creation before. They are in the image of His Son and that is why Satan hates human beings. That is why abortion is such a sacrament to the unsaved, the deceived. Every time an abortion ends a human life, Satan rejoices b/c it is a little like killing Jesus all over again. But he doesn't know the whole story. He just likes destroying little babies and their mothers who abort them.

So this is about woman. It is about what God's mind was in creating her. And of course I have to go to Jesus's mother to find out what the epitomy of God's mind is regarding woman. She is the ultimate bearer and nurturer of Life. Mary was "full of grace". Think about that for a moment. She was full of the power of God. Full. Complete. Capable of great suffering for us as her son was. I am not infering that her suffering was greater. I am saying that her suffering was greater than any other human being b/c she was full of grace. Every mom knows that we don't mind being chopped up as long as you leave our children alone. It was much more painful for Mary to see her son suffer than for her to suffer likewise herself. Yet she bore it so bravely and steadfastly. She had to ponder it in silence and embrace her grief as her Son embraced His separation from His Father.

Jesus spent thirty years at home. I believe He was training his Mother to help the Church He would found. The church needed her to nurture it to life. In Catholic teaching Mary is the symbol of the Church and is Its mother. So if I want to be a woman - as God created her to be - it makes sense to look at her and to ask for her intercession, her prayer to help me understand and be the woman God wants me to be.

As a child I really loved Mary and grew up in my Catholic faith not worshipping her but having a profound love and respect for who God made her to be - chosen to nurture His Only Son - beyond human comprehension! The Father gave us His Son for salvation, for everything. But He also, in His wisdom, gave us the first disciple of Jesus, His mother. As the ultimate human being, she can help me apprehend and grow closer to my Lord. She has done it, she has suffered and rejoiced as no other human being has - and as the Catholic Church as always taught me - She always points us to Her Son. At Cana, the last words the gospel records of Mary is "Do whatever He tells you.." So is her message to us now.

For a time I rejected Mary and my Catholic love for her and by God's grace have found it profoundly and wanted to publicly thank her for her love and care for me. For her nurturing in me the life of her Son whom she nurtured as no one else ever has. To sit and ponder what she went through bogles the mind. So, thank you mom. I came to love you again, late. But in God's good time, enough time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Root

Years ago I was teaching a computer course for beginners. One session involved buying a PC and the way one goes about the decision. One of the things we talked about was, "Why do I want a computer and for what will I use it?" Back then this was a legitimate question. Last night while I was struggling with sleeplessness I thought about that question in terms of politics. I decided that intead of "party line" voting, I needed to ask myself the root questions that I asked when determining what kind of computer I needed. So I ask myself in terms of candidates, "What do I want and need in my public servants?" Indeed today there are few public servants - more like royalty....but that is a different subject.
I am a conservative - meaning I am for, protection for the unborn, lower taxes, less government, less entitlements or even none for that matter!, strong nationalistic policy, strong defense, limited foreign intervention but nonetheless a strong support for our allies. Now how do I get this with my vote? Or let it be better stated, how do I get the most of what I want with my vote? I need to look at not only what they say (maybe that should be last) but what they have done. The only words that are important are the ones that have backed up past action and reveal the character of the person. And I can't afford to be non-informed, disgusted, or blind about my vote. It is all I have. It must be important or all I believe in as an American citizen is worthless.
I am proud to be an American. As a student of history, you have to admit, for all our meddling we have conquered but not occupied, supported, bled and died but not counted the cost, defended freedom......we have freedom and I think lots of people don't realize what it is to give it away by voting emotionally, or not voting. Just study history and see how the cycle goes. Nothing happening in our country today is new. What we do with what we have is.
Each time in history there have been a few people who would not let our country down. No matter the cost - life, reputation, personal wealth....I have recognized that I am not one of the select. However my little vote counts and yours does too - just study the root of the candidate and what you want as a citizen. There are forces today in our country that want to blur us into the "globe" and rob us of our nation. And they sit on both sides of the aisle and also IN the aisle.
Well I have done.....I know what I you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

BIB - blogger is Back!!!

September is almost over, hard to believe. I have constructed numerous blogs in my head but there is almost too much to talk about! Today I was distilling it in the word, focus. Focus has helped me through many hurdles. I learned about it through riding my horse Max. If you get really good at focussing you can turn a horse with your eyes. Looking at where you are going is always a good thing and when you do then the rest of life goes there too. Now that can be good or bad. Once I was riding Max around the outside of my arena. Max is a expert of taking off pieces of knees especially on trail rides and this time it happened to be the corner posts of the arena. No matter how I steered him, I narrowly missed bumping my knees on the solid posts. As we an around and around I kept my eye on those posts so that I could, at the last minute, steer his large body around them.

I was quite anxious about it. Then I realized that I was actually causing the problem by looking at the posts! I was sending Max into them. I quickly shifted my focus to the space beyond the posts and presto! no more problems. I learned a great deal from that experience.

Where is my focus? How does my focus determine my actions, or the actions of others? I realize so deeply that I can be a peacemaker or a troublemaker by simply the words and body language behind them. I can either be a power for good by my focus or deep in the "crapper" b/c I lose hope. And I can carry all those around me into the posts.

Learning to focus helped me learn not to be afraid. Max and I had a bad accident that made me afraid to ride for a long time. Max had issues with a corner of a large field I was trying to negotiate. It scared me to ride "down there" where I knew he would try to spook and run away. A teacher told me to always focus on the next corner post in the field. "Don't focus on the scary part but look intently beyond." I started to look hard at the post and to send Max there. After a few times I even forgot about the scary section. I couldn't believe it. Focus.....even when it is scary, unknown or challenging.

I like to think of it as looking at the God space around something - rather than my attitude, fears or worries. Looking at the God space helps me focus on God and His will rather than all the mess that composes our daily life. And it certainly helps me focus on all the beauty of the earth, life and people that come my way.

I learned this when I spent time with family in the Northwest recently. The beauty and generosity of the people I met will help me focus always on the greatness of people. It was such a joy to love and be loved by them all and to witness their friendship and focus on what really matters in life - loving each other. I had to ask myself how often I forfeit that through irritation, selfishness, self pity or whatever.....and I crash my knees against the posts.

Thanks Max - he rode really well today, the old boy still has it in him!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just be Happy?

The other day I was watching a television series someone lent me (okay it was House MD). The season finale was sad but strangely uplifting. A girl, who in previous shows was fairly cutthroat and self centered performs a good act for Dr House. Subsequently, as a consequence of that good act she dies. As she is dying, her lover asks her why she isn't angry - at the fate. Mark Twain said, "No good deed goes unpunished" and in her case she paid the ultimate price. She says to Dr Wilson, "I don't want anger to be the last thing I feel." I think in television's idea and certainly the show's idea is that there is nothing beyond this life. Even so, that is such a wonderful response. It has resonated with me for several days now. There is so much unrest, unresolved, unasked for, unexpected "stuff" we encounter every single day - and so much major stuff lots of people encounter....I just decided to make an effort - a daily effort - to not let anger, bewilderment, irritation, hurt or anything like that to be what I finally feel each day. I want to just be happy. And the secret to this is gratitude. The author of "The Hidden Messages in Water" came to that conclusion also. The root of all life is gratitude. And it is the harbinger of true, self sacrificing love. And of course, all of this is impossible. Unless of course, you subscribe to the Author that lets not one sparrow fall to the ground.

I want to echo that image of that young woman in my mind. I want to never let anger be the last thing I feel each day. Nor do I want despair or bewilderment to rule. Sometimes tv gets it right! Fr Judge said that we do find wisdom in all places if we are looking for it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Tree Runs through It

I was able to plant a bunch of pine trees and three oak trees today before the major rain fall that they are promising. What a difference from the last two years as I witnessed about fifty trees that I planted die in the drought. I am not an environmentalist to the extreme but I love all of life and see such glory in it. I think of the tremendous amount of energy that goes into the survival of tree, bird or animal. And though we all must die there is a comfort in that also b/c we will live again and much better! And God will not forget his creation - they groan also and wait upon the glorious Redemption. So as the rain begins to pitter patter on my tin roof I am glad I got those trees in the ground!

My granddaughter turns three today and what a gift Ava is to our whole family. It is beyond comprehension that God lets us participate in the creation of His child, an immortal soul that He loves and cherishes. Not one child born escapes His notice or care. In Psalm 139 it says we are fearfully and wonderfully made - what poverty words are to express the delight of a child! And when they are connected to you - well it makes me glad to be alive! Happy Birthday AVA!!!

You are so loved and cherished by your parents and all of your family. What a delightful future we will all have with you!

How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place O Lord of Hosts, my heart longs and faints for your courts and my heart and flesh sing for joy to the Living God. For a day in your presence is far better to me than gold - or to take my fate upon my hands. I would rather be a door keeper in your courts than to spend my whole life somewhere else!

You are my sun and my shield - my Lover from the start - and the highway to your city runs through my heart!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Reigning is All About

I don't intend on making this blog a podium. I guess I have enough "bombs" in my life to prevent that. But I can't help but share thoughts as I live my daily life. As in the 10 commandments, the "thou shalt nots" become the focus. So I think that to the naked eye the top heavy maleness of the Catholic Church (and other major Christian denominations) is misunderstod. Most women, Catholic and others alike, think that major reformation is needed to make the genders equal. However it is a secular and erroneous viewpoint when it comes to the Body of Christ.

Indeed God offers and has always offered something much more precious to women than the priesthood. Jesus himself, in a time when women were property, elevated the woman to all dignity and worth - but He didn't equate equality with "sameness". God intentionally created them male and female. He chose a woman to bear His Only Begotten Son. He chose a woman to nurture and raise Him. Jesus' mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, must be our example as women in the Catholic Church today. If you think that means men make all the decisions and women just go about mopping up then you are missing out of the whole Spiritual dimention of who Mary is. I like to think that Jesus thirty years sojourn with His Mother was a remarkable training ground for Mary's influence in the origin of His Church. She is His first disciple, a remarkable creation - full of grace! Think about that - to be full of grace. Mary alone yielded to that Grace more importantly than anyone before or since. Sit down sometime and contemplate Mary carrying Jesus in her womb, holding him as a child. Learning from him as a man. This was given to a woman before men.

I guess there is no denying that Jesus came as a male. He appointed 12 male apostles to lead His Church. In God's realm, according to His Holiness John Paul II's Theology of the Body, the male's role is the initiator. He is really the servant. The woman's role is the receiver of the gift. She takes it and nutures it whether it be child or doctrine or revelation. And it is together that we see how God operates. Indeed, it is His sign to us of the Trinity. If we busy ourselves with equality and sameness we run very shy of why God created us and we miss out on what He has for us personally. I'm sorry I am not into inclusive language - I am not that insecure.

So when it comes to Mass, the priest must be male b/c not only Jesus and the apostles were and their successors, but they stand in Christ's stead as the sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated. If as the Catholic Church teaches, that in all Sacraments the priest is representing Jesus it seems a little ridiculous to put a woman there - if you get what I mean.

In our society today and even historically, the definition of maleness is dominance. In God's realm it is service. In secular society gender must be equal and same. In God's realm it is complimentary and equal. Both are needed to present God's message to all people (there! inclusive).

God has given us His Son to win for us adoption into His family. We who believe in His gift of grace will one day reign with Him - when we understand what reigning is all about.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Body Parts or Mortification?

Okay, I want you to ask yourself a very serious question. I mean you have to really consider this carefully. What is more important to you, pride or body parts?

This morning I had to ask myself this question. I chose to conserve my body parts and endured, well, mortification. At least I can just be busy and not think about it.....but heck...why not share it with the world? At any rate you might get a laugh out of it. We can all use a laugh.

While picking up manure this morning in the dewy hip high grass, I noticed my dogs sniffing warily around something. I approached it thinking it was a carcass of some sort - but no - it looked just like a small bomb. It was rusty and it was close to the fence, someone could have easily lobbed it over from the road. Now, I know what you are thinking, but I live in a place where the common entertainment is to shoot up or knock over or destroy mail boxes regularly.

So what do you do? Do you take a chance and pick it up? Do you?

Well I called the police department and I feel great that I perked that guy's day right up. He met me out there in the field...fortunately he never had to get out of his car. It turned out to be a piece of my mowers muffler (I always thought that piece looked like a bomb). You can't be too careful these days. And hallelujah - the Cr---I mean Snapper has found a new home! So I guess there is something to enduring mortification, a new, used mower!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting My Crow

We have undergone a new rigorous training here at Marygate. Innocently enough, it began in early March when we bought 15 little day old chicks. Fourteen of them were hens as advertised. But God saw fit to make one of them male. And is he gorgeous! Sultan, as he is known, is a very strict time keeper. Starting anywhere from four o'clock to five he begans heralding the dawn. As we stumble out of bed in the dark there is no reason to check the Eastern horizon. A few faint streaks of gray are cracking the eyelid of the sun.
There is no snooze button on the rooster alarm. Every ten seconds (I counted) Sultan crows. And he doesn't stop until someone comes out and lets him out of his coop. As I grumbled to myself the other day I wondered for the umpteenth time "why am I, with five grown children, living on a farm with roughly 30?" Why are not my husband and I traveling, taking it easy, eating out every once and a while? Why don't I have just a big yard with a dog that can easily go to a boarding house instead of scrambling for a caretaker when I must leave? Answer: I don't leave. At least not very often.

God has everything to do with it. We are privileged to have placed on us an apostolic call to serve Him and we think that this is the begining of what He wants.

Sultan had to learn his crow. At first as his feathers grew so did his confidence and his voice. He sounded like a little girl with her finger caught in the door or someone who just had ice thrown down their back.....but one day he speared me with his eye and let a "cock a doodle doo" erupt proudly.

I feel like Sultan. I am not sure what kind of feathers I am growing but I must learn my crow in fits and starts. I have to practice and fumble along trusting in what God wants us to do here. I hope and pray it will be as in Emily Dickinson's poem "to lift one fainting robin, unto his nest again - I shall not die in vain." Okay, Sultan's the one on the left b4 he got all his feathers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Women Priests?

I am so tired of this mantra! And I am so tired of the idea that the RC Church is "anti-woman" just b/c she isn't a priest. Jesus said, "That is not how it was in the beginning." Meaning that today's idea of men and women in the secular world is really screwed up. For years I kept my mind opened, not b/c I ever thought women priests were a right possibility but I wanted to be open. Well...there is a difference between being open and being informed. Thanks to His Holiness John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" I can echo Jesus' words....there is a reason for two genders and each must fulfill what they are fashioned for in order to understand the nature of God. Man and woman and their gender roles point to the very heart of God. The perfect example was the fact that Jesus is truly man as well as God and His apostles are all men. Woman finds her fulfillment and apex in the Blessed Virgin Mary.....I wouldn't want to be like anyone else! She is the ultimate first disciple and the model for all women - the ultimate receiver of God's life. This is what God offers us as women - to receive can't get any better than that. Just to lighten things up I put a picture of Taddy to remind us how funny and cute life can be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Dignity of Man

I just watched a special on John Paul II. I got it for $3 at Big Lots and was it good! I am preparing sessions for Catholic Initiation which begins this week for our parish and I think I want to talk about the dignity of man and how the RC Church defends it. Truly this is at the seat of all wars - disrespecting and disregarding each person's freedom. How difficult it is to order my life around respecting and putting other's needs before my own! Yet that is what the Son of God did even when he was mourning and when he was exhausted. His Holiness John Paul II did that as well and it was good to be reminded of it. I want all who come to the class to know that they are unique, loved and watched over by the greatest Lover of all. And that He respects their free will and honors their honest seeking.

Monday I had the felicity of spending the day with three of my best girls (of which I am very fortunate to have six!). Lauren, Ava and Mia spent the day with ole granny and we had a great time. Ava (granddaughter #1) named my other two roosters and delighted in their crowing right up close and personal. All the hens are named Pru b/c they all look exactly alike and we figured they wouldn't mind. Speed, Rhode Island Red Rooster number 1 is "Speed" and the little RIR runt is "Skart" (not sure where that came from). Of course the beloved "biscuit time" the dogs usually get in the evening got celebrated numerous times througout the day. Ava is one of their favorites! Mia was very happy to move her happy feet all over the place if I held her hands. She is a budding rapper though b/c she can lay on her tummy and spin like a top laughing all the way.

I think of them, loved, cherished, bright and wonderful - by their parents and family and God. I hope that all children may experience that - at least some day. You go Dani!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Okay, so I am new at this. The top photo is Sam the arab who is on the perpetual diet. Max is next in profile, the incorrigible "smoochie man" who has a smile for all of us (to be demonstrated as technology advances) and Duchess ultimate queen and not a very good photo so I will have to get with her on that!

Happy tails to y'all!

Rain! Rain! Rain!

This is the third day of rain - some rain at least - down here in drought ridden Alabama. My soul flies with joy at each drop. The last two and a half years have been agony - dry grass, dry earth, trees dying for lack of water. I did compile a list of ten good things about drought to hold my anguish at bay....and to trust that God certainly knows how to keep nature growing! It is pretty idiotic of me to think I know better. At any rate the rain this year has watered my soul as well as the many more people suffered more than my little farm. I hope they are full of joy with each drop as well.

As promised I will start to introduce the animal menagerie here at Marygate. They are mostly happy some of the time! Except for Sam who is in a weight loss camp in the woods - as a long time dieter myself I feel his pain....Bo who as a donkey is allowed to be mornful about everything and is. Everyone else is happy as long as they are fed except the dogs who expect their daily ramble in the thickets around back. You would think twenty acres was enough but no they must explore the other hundred as well!

I do heartily and publicly thank God for the rain! Its cool wetness is salve to the soul.
I guess it is funny that I introduce my animals before my family but I think I want it that way. The children are first always and forever (well you know husbands rank before first in the realm of beforefirstness that is indescrible and goes without saying).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Teresa Tomeo

"Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist." This is a new autobiography by a gutsy, holy woman of God, Teresa Tomeo. It talks about her incredible life as a news anchorwoman and a radio evangelist and defender of the Catholic faith. Bezalel Books is the publisher (link down below) and Cheryl Dickow, CEO of the company is a dear friend and strong Christian woman herself. Both women are examples of living and serving God in the world today and making a difference.

Congratulations Teresa and Cheryl and may it inspire many women to follow Christ as you do!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Farm

Marygate early in the morning. Stay tuned for the animal show in the next few days!

I just can't sleep

You know the feeling. Your mind is racing with all it has to do. You are over tired. And like a child you fret into your hot, mushy pillow. Your eyes refuse to stay closed. And then you have an idea for an article. Your mind grabs it, chases it, writes and rewrites it......well I might as well get up.

The crickets are going great guns, the frogs are tuning up in the pond. A distant yip yip of a coyote cuts across. They all sound like they belong - belong to the night. "He gives to His beloved in sleep." I guess tomorrow will come and what needs to happen will happen. No use getting stressed about it. The crickets tell me that.

I hope that all of you who are up tonight will take a moment to listen to the still, dark and noisey night. They are good sounds, comforting sounds of the night dwellers. One up for the night - it doesn't have to be bad does it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Long Hot Summer

Today the sun is out in full Alabama force and the animals take cover in the woods. The roosters are running all over the woods and encouraging their ladies to come out of the trees. A few rain showers has made most of nature happy this Monday morn.

Sam the horse waits patiently for his ride. The dogs wait patiently for their walk in the back woods with Sam. There seems to be a lot of waiting at Marygate. Waiting to happen. Waiting to be. Waiting to unfold to God's plan.....a waiting with expectation. May she fulfill all the God has for her.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No Time Like the Beginning!

July 25th and Marygate is born on the web. This blog site is dedicated to the Blessed Mother and I ask for her protection and inercession for all that Marygate Farms represents. Located in the very hot location of Trinity, Alabama, Marygate is home to Leo and Harriet, perpetrators, 17 goats, three horses, four dogs, four cats (depending on the day), 15 chickens, and a donkey. From time to time our five children and two grandchildren visit and liven the quiet life up quite a bit. And always we welcome all who want to come and breathe in country air (and a bug or two - uh- million) and just settle down.