Friday, August 30, 2013

My recent life, in seven semi-quick takes

Hopefully, for once, I can take to heart the "quick"in my seven quick takes. Laundromat awaits, as it has been either too rainy or too muggy to put stuff out on the clothesline. I have only had one other laundromat run all summer -- not too shabby!

1. So I think I mentioned we have been working on redoing two of the bedrooms. We switched Ben and Malaika's rooms, Ben got a new bed, and Malaika is awaiting one.

Here is the before pic when this room was still Ben's. It actually is a mid-move pic, as he was sorting and shuffling things around.Behind that blanket mounded up in the corner of the bed is a sizable hole in the wall. Old home=plaster walls=if you bump into them they crumble.

This room is now Malaika's -- here are the afters. It is basically a hang out, do homework (soon!) and dressing room until we get that bed for her. Ikea has a very cool chair/bed I have my eye on to work with the room's smallness.

Melissa painted the main design on the dresser and Malaika added a few finishing touches. Some of the artwork is courtesy of Rachael, but Malaika is a burgeoning artist as well. The sideways headboard from Malaika's old bed serves as something to hang necklaces, headphones, or whatever she fancies.
 Desk, from my friends Marie and Bill, who generously let us go shopping for free through their possessions before they moved to South Carolina. The front drops open and has all sorts of cubbies inside. (*note--Bill just had major surgery, I would ask your prayers for him and their whole family -- miss them so much!)

The blue dressers are from our neighbors across the street who were THROWING THEM AWAY. They are in perfect condition, and I love the idea of trash picking saving good things from the landfill. (how we also acquired our kitchen chairs). Ahem.

Curtain material--Rachael purchased and didn't use. I craftily ruched it up with twine because sewing and I are not on speaking terms. The sheer is to cover some of the crumbling plaster wall. Also the placement of the dressers, (though if I must say so myself, I did a mighty miraculous job with the spackle to close up and paint over the holes). I just wanted to prevent the worst one from opening back up if she bumped it, or say, a fly landed on it.

Here is the bed I hope to get for her.

2. Here is how Ben's room looks now. I don't have a before picture, but the walls alone are a sight for sore eyes.  Melissa did a lot of the painting in this room, and put the bed together. I painted too but spackled cracks mostly. So. many. cracks. You can see a huge one running down the wall next to the bookshelf. And that's the repaired version.

Ben is enjoying having a good bed and a room he wants to spend time in, My next hope is to get him a bigger desk. He is starting college next week, and Melissa is starting her final two semesters. Rachael was promoted at her job, and Corrie is doing well at hers. Praise God! Malaika starts her eighth grade year, with all it's perks. Formal dance, trip, and probably more.

3.  My daughter Meghann and a friend,  ran the Color Run in Grand Rapids. They had a blast! She pulled Kaden in a wagon most of the way.

4. One day while I was taking a walk and praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, I got to thinking. Usually when I get to the fourth mystery, the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, I also present my own children to Jesus. And at the fifth mystery, the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, I pray they all ultimately will be found in His temple.

As I was pondering how Mary and Joseph might have felt during the three days Jesus was missing (no prophetic numbers are ever wasted!),  certainly they must have been worried. As I also worry about my own, even as I present them to Him all the time. In my mind, I see Jesus in His temple, doing what?...His Father's business, and I imagine them there also. What is His Father's business, I wondered? I could think of many things, but what came to mind is that He is going looking for those lost sheep.  Seeking to save those who are lost. Finding those lost coins that don't even know they are lost. Binding up the brokenhearted.

So, even as Mary and Joseph found Jesus safe and sound, I rest in the knowledge that His mission is to find all my children safe and sound, which I will never stop asking of Him, and trusting in His goodness that it will be so.

And of course we know that to pray the Rosary is to pray the Gospels, and that it was the weapon of choice for so many saints, including Padre Pio, against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

5.  Looking forward to the routine that the kids going back to school brings. Even though it can be hectic, at least there is that feeling of progress, which I love. A good saying I heard recently --- Progress, not Perfection. And that doing some small thing, even sloppily, for a little bit, on a regular basis, can bring about change; whereas, waiting for the perfect time or circumstance only halts progress. Another good way to put it:

Ordinary things, consistently done, lead to extraordinary results.

Not a new concept, but worthy of reiterating.

6.  The cat.

and Malaika.
Good thing her allergies don't extend to animal dander.

7. Thankful and grateful for this day. For the ability to go and do what I need to, and even occasionally, what I want. I am thankful for my life: the blessings, the tough stuff, lessons learned, ongoing struggles, the wonderful husband and children, good friends, the grace to always be able to try again, the beauty that is a part of life as well as the pain. Even for the laundromat.

~God Bless and Keep you~


Monday, August 26, 2013

A Cry for Dignity

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”

Elie Wiesel


This was one of the quotes referenced last night by Rev. Pat Mahoney,  Director of the Christian Defense Coalition. The event was called, "A Cry for Dignity," formed to hasten the release of the babies killed by now life-imprisoned late term abortionist Kermit Gosnell. 

I wrote about the first gathering on that sweltering day, July 19th. Last night's and today's events went together; a candlelight vigil at Gosnell's former "clinic,"and today, a witness at the Medical Examiner's, in which we held up placards with each baby's name and prayed.

Here are a few of my pictures: 

 Some group left pamphlets under the door
 Here is what they said

And here is one taken by someone else.
It was meant to be a candlelight vigil, but it was too windy. It didn't take away from the powerful prayer and sense of purpose.

And today:

In attendance at both gatherings were several pro life leaders and priests, some driving from as far as Birmingham, Alabama.
Here,  Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, gives a talk. You can see Malaika and I.

The speakers from both events were wonderfully skilled at articulating the significance of Gosnell. Not that it is a singular situation, as abortion clinics go, but they pointed out that the Gosnell debacle has gotten the attention of the public, and is a window in to the world of the abortion industry.

The "Cry for Dignity" events are to bring awareness to the fact that the victims of Gosnell  deserve the respect due to all humans. The Medical Examiner has stated they DO plan to bury the babies, but may in fact take up to TEN YEARS to do so. There is much legal wrangling going on behind the scenes; the M.E. happens to be violating its own policies.

The powers that be, i.e., Dr. Donald Swartz, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity (a mouthful),  Mayor Nutter, and Chief M.E., Dr. Sam Gulino, are avoiding entering in to the arena, it seems to me and others, for fear they would be entering in to abortion politics and appearing to side with  pro life.

Here are a few links to some articles:


Saturday, August 17, 2013

the spending of time

Hello! After my week off from blogging, I am back and teeming with competing thoughts I want to blog about. What probably will happen is that I will forget the majority of them. sigh.

The main things that took up my past week were: switching kids' bedrooms, which meant a major clean out, spackling ( if you live in an older home you will understand that this means you basically have to be Michelangelo with a putty knife to make the walls look smooth for painting), and, yes, painting.

Ben accidentally put his hand through a plate glass door. So that was a fun night. Thank God many times over that he did not sever anything that impaired his mobility. My up and coming jazz drummer! We actually went straight from getting stitches to a gig. He did not want to miss it! Turns out, the gig itself was one of those Gigs from Hell. All you musicians will know what I mean by this.

Also I am playing Candy Crush. Level 36. Don't judge!

The beautiful fall-like weather has made me want to clean every inch of the house. There are quite a few inches left, but I am chipping away at it.

And lastly, but not so in weight; today was our regular 3rd Saturday pro life vigil. We were blessed to have Father Denis Wilde from Priests for Life with us today.
* a little aside -- Father Wilde is also an a.mazing pianist. As Bob and I were coming in to the church this morning, Father was playing -- some gorgeous piece, full of intricate harmonies and swelling dynamics. As we approached, he saw we needed to get into that space, and as the piece wound down, going through at least three different keys, I wanted to know what it was, it was so beautiful.

He just made it up.

O-kay! Now we have to play our little ditties, Father. yikes. Bob did play a part of Bach's English Suites for the offertory. Did a nice job, too. :) Though the organ sound on his keyboard at home is much better than the one there. Oh well. We muddled through.
end of note.*

So, on our way over to the Planned Parenthood where we have been going for years to pray, I was carrying my "I regret my abortion" sign sideways under my arm. Someone driving by REALLY needed to slow down and yell out his window, "stop harassing people!"

Anybody else see the irony?

 This particular message does several things other pro life messages can't. It lets the reader know that the person bearing it has personal experience with abortion. It also does not put the bearer in the position or perceived position of looking down on the reader, whatever their views on abortion may be. It simply states a personal feeling about having had an abortion.

So whomever I am harassing is not a good reader.

As we stood and prayed, a young woman on a bike wove through our group and said, "don't you have anything better to do with your time?"

What a poignant question. If society at large was not shielded from the gruesome reality of what was taking place inside that facility at that very moment, they would not ask that question. It would not be more important to take a bike ride on a lovely morning, or walk and get Starbucks, or do anything except express opposition to the legalized slaughter of innocents. Legalized, glamorized, made out to be hip, fashionable, and enlightened, the encouragement of our young women to think of themselves as things to be used and their fertility despised. The thought that to be pro woman is to march our beautiful young ladies into these chambers of death, where their babies will be cut apart, sucked out, and pieced back together to be sure all the body parts are there (oh yes, body pars, not clumps of cells), and thrown away like so much trash. This is what we are calling Enlightened Women's Health Care, folks, in the U S of A.

So, no, my dear, I can not think of anything better to do with my time. As hard as it is becoming to get up at the necessary hour,  it is nothing compared to the fate of the poor souls going to God before their appointed time. I have no room to complain, either. A dear friend and stalwart pro life worker, Bill Miller, showed up today after: two bypass operations, two bouts of double pneumonia and other rough heath issues, all at the age of 78! May God richly bless him.

Well. Candy Crush may not be a good way to spend my time, either, but in the scheme of things, it is my way to unwind.

God Bless All.