Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I came across this idea on another blog and thought I'd give it a shot here, for lack of something more cohesive. I've got a lot on my plate at the moment, so I hope this will prove a good stand-in for a post. :)

Take care and God bless!

For Today...

Outside my window... day breaking; chilly, but fresh, Spring air.

I am thinking... about what I'll be doing at work today and about last night's Parish Mission, the topic of which was Palm Sunday.

From the learning rooms... I'm looking into more information about a degree in radiologic technology and about some local and regional CNA classes.

I am thankful for... a Providential trip to Minnesota and the remainder of a Spring Break spent here in SM.

From the kitchen... buttered toast and hot black tea for breakfast.

I am wearing... black and white.

I am reading... last night, I read an excellent excerpt from Three to Get Married by Bishop Fulton Sheen.

I am hoping... for happiness, at least ultimately.

I am creating... hmm.... well, I'm HOPING to create some new clothes this Spring, when I get the time.

I am hearing... My Immortal. Strangely, almost eerily, apropos. (Not to yours truly.)

Around the house... laundry to do, gardening to be undertaken in a bigger way.

One of my favorite things... meaningful conversations.

A few plans for the rest of the week... a lot more work than usual, the continuation of the Parish Mission, some letter-writing, more research on educational options.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...Windy, WINDY weather - the herald of Spring! (This particular day, March 23, a local weather station recorded 91 mph gusts!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blogging Break

I have been taking an unscheduled hiatus from blogging this week. I just haven't had anything to talk about. (Imagine that! LOL!) Rather, I haven't had anything that I CAN talk about which would be interesting. I haven't felt inspired.

But I'll be back after a bit, I'm sure... Probably sooner than I think - now that I've said something about. :D

Until then, God bless and I hope your Lent is going well!
(Oh, and aren't you glad that Spring is almost here to stay?? :) Our seedlings are coming along!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: I Want a Bite, Too

My 7-month-old niece was anxious to get in on the sharing that Gramma was doing! :) ~ October 3, 2008

Don't miss other great WW entries at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Second Sunday in Lent ~ the Gradual

I was going to blog briefly about this yesterday, but that didn't happen... So today, I just wanted to share with you the Gradual from yesterday's Mass. For some reason, as I read it during Mass yesterday, it jumped out at me as ever so appropriate. That is the beautiful thing about Scripture. It's absolutely timeless. It transcends the ages.

The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities, O Lord. See my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins.
(Psalms 24:17,18)

It applied to myself personally, because Saturday night had been a little bit rough and I was feeling overwhelmed by the troubles and worries of our age in general and of my life in particular. These troubles seem so interminable sometimes and I feel so helpless against them. (Indeed, on my own, I am utterly helpless in the face of them.) But I think that it also applies to our day and age very well.
For every one good thing you hear on the news, there are six or eight or ten bad things you can't help but hear as well. Every day seems to bring renewed abominations and an-ever-greater breach of our freedoms by the government. When will it end??

The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities, O Lord.

It seems almost as though the harder we fight against this force of evil, the further it advances. But struggle we must - and fight the good fight, no matter how futile it may seem to human eyes. And the first place that this fight needs to begin is within our own hearts. We cannot hope to win over the world if we cannot win ourselves over, by staying faithful in the little things. May God grant us the strength necessary to stay faithful to His cause.

See my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins.

...This, in a rough nutshell, was the series of thoughts that occurred to me when I read yesterday's gradual. Did you have any reflections on this passage? I hope that each of you is having a good Lent - doing a little but doing it well. God bless!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Nine Months Ago Today

Getting gas in Utah (or maybe it was far SE Colorado?) on June 8, 2008. Ouch!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Rhetoric... and Its Tropes and Figures

My paternal grandmother completed, several years ago and after a lot of work, her doctorate in Rhetoric. She currently teaches Rhetoric (among other things) at Texas Wesleyan University. When I was down in Texas visiting her almost six weeks ago, she was showing me some of the tropes and figures of Rhetoric. Apparently, the dozen that she gave me as examples was but a small sampling of the approximately 500 that make up the complete list!
Nonetheless, they were quite fascinating to someone like me, who finds language endlessly fascinating and marvelous. We use some of them frequently even in our spoken language without even knowing that we're doing so!

Take, for example, synonymy. I use this one very often in the hopes of conveying more clearly what I'm saying and to avoid misunderstandings... though in my case, it probably comes across a lot more like mindless reiteration than like spoken literature. LOL!
Synonymy — literally means the same name. The rhetor uses words that are similar in meaning as a means of repeating an important point: “Call it treason, betrayal, sedition, or villainy — it is one.” Another example: “You have overturned the laws of the land on their head; you have demolished order of the state at its foundation.”

Some of them coincide with the figures of speech commonly employed in composition:
Simile and hyperbole are two that you are more familiar with. Hyperbole can be defined as a gentle straining of the truth, or exaggeration. For example, Cicero wrote about a skinny man that he had legs like parsley. I heard this once during a summer heat wave: “hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.” Simile, on the other hand is a metaphor but it uses "like" or "as" in its comparison.

And this is one of my favorites:
Antanaclasis — occurs with the repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance. For example, “I would leave this place, should the state give me leave.” Or Ben Franklin’s famous statement: “Your argument is sound...all sound.”

Aren't those cool? :) Although these figures are Greek in origin and can be used in any language, I think that English probably has the greatest variety in its presentation than any other western language, simply because it is a combination of several other languages. This gives it the ability to be extremely diverse in its powers of description.

So awesome... :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Seven Quick Takes (vol 3)

I hope everyone's Lent is going well (and yes, I understand that that typically translates as wishing crosses on you all :D - but it means that I'm wishing many graces on you as well!). Mine is moving right along... Friday in the first week of Lent is already here, and with it volume 3 of my "Seven Quick Takes" - a weekly special over at Jennifer's fantastic Conversion Diary. (Be sure to stop by there and congratulate her on her baby girl, born on Monday of this week!)


Yesterday was a GLORIOUS day, matching 1956's record high of 84 degrees! It was more than mild - it was really warm; the kind of warmth that soaks into your bones. :) In the evening, I went out on our deck to relish the beautiful air. I only stayed a few minutes, because it was time for dinner. In that amount of time, I got a mosquito bite! We also found a fly in the house after leaving the door propped open for about 45 minutes...! :O Can't we have just one single day in early March without bugs?!? It was 11 degrees on Sunday and 15 on Monday... How did they survive?? :-/
(Speaking of yesterday, it also marked the 21st anniversary of my sister's Baptism and it would have been my granddad's 84th birthday. He passed away 14 years ago this month.)


Have you seen the real estate prices in Detroit recently??! Oh. My. GOSH. They're practically paying people to live there - evidently without much success! (For those of you who don't visit the hyperlinks, the median price on a home in Detroit right now is $7,500. Not $75,000. Seven thousand, five hundred dollars for the average house that's on the market.)


How about a flashback photo for Friday? (I have no idea what Friday has to do with looking at old pictures. I just liked the alliteration.) Yours truly in October of 2004. I was 18.


I love Garfield. :D

This one might be more appropriate if half the precipitation-frames were snow instead of rain! :)


My younger sister got her Minnesota driver's license today! That's been a rather drawn-out process due to missing paperwork, but the story is complete now. :) All my sibs live in Minnesota... I guess I missed the memo! (Sure don't miss having those winters though!)


Speaking of winters - or the lack thereof - our tulips are pushing through the ground. They stand about 3 inches high now! Our daffodils are a couple of inches high and our irises are starting to peek through as well. Considering we're supposed to be dipping back down into the 20's next week, it looks like we'll need to get out there and cover them. (How many teasers can we have before the real Spring arrives?? We've been blessed with a very mild winter, but I'm still more than ready for Spring! :))


This week, I have picked up again one of my favorite books, The Song of the Rosary by Fr. Daniel Lord, S.J. If you have not read it, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's a 399-page poem, chock full of fantastic images and oh-so-human depictions of the events in the mysteries of the Rosary. It's excellent material for meditating on the Rosary. That being said, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite passages, taken from the end of the chapter on the Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging at the Pillar. Remember - as with all poetry - to read according to the punctuation marks and not as much according to where the lines begin and end...
If Jesus at the end, flung to the floor
Partly by almost death,
Partly by soldiers' pity as they grant
Rest after torture,
Partly by cruelty that laid
Raw flesh upon cold stone...
If then He lifted agonizing eyes to see
Close to the cellar casement, through the bars,
Her [editor's note: His Mother's] watching face...
Or if in vision, as the saints have thought,
She stood close to the pillar
Where they beat Him down,
A writhing worm, no longer quite a man...
Was there for Him a solace in her woe?
Or was it doubled agony that she should share
However willingly
These scourging blows
Rained by lustful men
In penalty
For all the lustful deeds of those
Who loved the flesh too sadly and too well?

Who knows
Save only He who bore the blows
Of our offences
And the lovely she
Whose guiltless body knew, proxy perhaps,
The scourges that His guiltless body bore
For all the guilty bodies of the world
And all our guilty flesh.

Ah, if perhaps, his bloody business done,
One soldier dropped his scourge and cried,
If but one callous guard,
Seeing the bits of flesh
Upon the whip within his grip
Or, catching a glimpse of Mary's tortured eyes
There at the casement,
Flung to the farthest wall
The ugly thing that beat his God...
If that had been...

Or if today somewhere
Lust knows itself as lust and cries the shame
Which pampered flesh
The while it tortured His and hers,
Mary is glad, and Jesus smiles
Up from the column where they whittled Him
To writhing pain.
Mary is glad, and Jesus with joy

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Overlooking the Kingdom

The little prince surveys his mighty kingdom. ;) ~ June 19, 2008; Yellowstone National Park

Don't miss today's other entries at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Getting Our Garden Underway

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
~May Sarton

A week ago yesterday, Mom planted marigold seeds and I planted tomato seeds. Yesterday, I planted bell pepper seeds. Yesterday or the day before, some of Mom's marigolds sprouted... and this morning, a couple of my tomatoes are pushing their way through the soil!! Our geranium is getting on the act with a couple blooms of its own. The container herbs have withstood the winter months. Even the "worm farm" we started in the late fall is going great guns. :)

It was 17 degrees yesterday morning, but now it is 41 and sunny (and Thursday is forecast to be 75!)... and with all these lovely green things coming to life, it does feel like Spring is just around the corner!

I'm not sure what we'll plant next - maybe onions - but it's very exciting to get this underway! ...Hopefully I'll still be thrilled about it even when "mosquito season" has arrived and the heat and humidity have settled like a blanket around us. ;)

God is good.

There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.
~Alfred Austin

Monday, March 02, 2009

Amazing Little Pianist

This kid's incredible! He's amazingly articulate for a six-year-old, but still very much a six-year-old in other regards.

He starts playing about 4:40, but it's worth watching the whole thing. Enjoy!