Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
God Bless Our Troops

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.
We love what we do!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here we are - the last day of 2008. Every year on this day I look back over the previous year and think about the events of the year. All in all it was a good year. It had it's high points and it's low points but for the most part was filled with blessings. Nina, Jamie, Anna, Clay, and Claire will spend the night tonight and we will bring in the New Year together. At midnight there will be frantic calls to Sam, Kelli, Melisa, and Justin to wish them a Happy New Year.

I don't generally make resolutions any more, but this year I would like to get the house decluttered. I have a hard time getting rid of things. Unfortunately, Harold is the same way. I think it's because we feel like we are getting rid of pieces of ourselves. But it isn't the things we want, it's the memories attached to them. So, I am going to take pictures of the things I have a hard time parting with. That way I will have the memory without the clutter.
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Today I have a host of things to do. I have to do some more cleaning. I have a batch of tarts to pour. I have Mass to play at 5:00. And then the family arrives and the fun begins. I am not working out this morning because Nina is going to bring her Wii fit and we will be doing that.

I want to wish all of my readers a safe New Year's Eve and a wonderful New Year filled with peace, joy, and good health.

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Word of the day
The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Gospel
Jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Salvation in a nutshell.

God bless our troops!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You know, semi-retirement really hasn't sunk in yet. I would normally be off at this time. It will sink in next Monday when I rush around in the morning and then remember that I don't have to go to the school. It will be nice to be able to focus a little more (a lot more) on my remaining job - music director at my church. We have a project that we're working on and I need to get started on that. We are recording a CD in memory of our late member John. There are copyright permissions that need to be attended to. Then I need to assemble the music, schedule a couple of rehearsals, contact the recording guy and get this thing done.
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I cut the soap into bars this morning. It smells wonderful.



I also made some of my Country Prim Soap in the shape of Valentine Hearts. I scented it with Honey, Oats, and Milk. Those will be listed on the website sometime soon. Country Prim soap isn't quite as luxurious as the stuff made from scratch, but I can do fun things with it. It still doesn't have the detergent and nasty stuff that store bought soap has.





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I've been having an argument with myself all morning about whether I am going to work out today. Yes, Mary Ann is making her presence known. I am tuning her out. I have a bill that has to go in the mail and then I am hitting the treadmill.
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Okay, it took me a while to hit the treadmill. I need to get in gear earlier in the morning. It is too tempting to do website work while I am sitting here in jammies with a big mug of cafe latte.

Anyway, I did finally get on the treadmill. I saw that Nina was keeping tabs on me. :)

Daily stats:
Type: Treadmill

Route: Custom 2
Time: 20
Average heart rate: 120
Max heart rate: 137
Down 1.2
from last Tuesday (whoo hoo!)

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Word of the day
The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Gospel
Lk 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

God bless our troops!

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Monday, December 29, 2009 - Today I make soap!

Happy Birthday Clayton!! I chose the following picture because Clayton loves "creatures." He is 4 years old today, but he will tell you that his birthday was yesterday because that is when he had his cake. Oh, to be 4 years old and always right. LOL! (but his birthday is actually today.)



In our house - when the kids were growing up - we always celebrated Christmas until January 6th - The feast of the Epiphany - the day the Wisemen brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Our tree stayed up until then. The kids are grown and gone, but I still keep the tree up. This is when I write out my Christmas cards and family newsletter - when I have time to enjoy it instead of rushing to get it done.

It has always perplexed me that in the secular world, which begins Christmas the day after Halloween, Christmas stops cold on the day after. All of the Christmas stuff goes on sale. Yesterday, I stopped at Walmart and the Christmas goods have been picked clean and replaced by Valentine items. Even the Christian radio station stops playing Christmas music the day after Christmas.
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Today I get back on track with my daily updates on the fitness front. This is not a New Year's resolution so there is no excuse for me to put it off until then. My New Year's resolution is to finally declutter this house. Yesterday I had to go downstairs into my workroom and move everything off of the floor because water was coming in. I moved a lot of stuff that I am not using. That will be decluttered. Before Christmas I bought myself a gift from the Flylady shop.


These things are the coolest! They fold up into their own little pouch. These is even a video tutorial on the Flylady site. I have one problem though. I took the purple "give away" bag over to Clayton's party because his gifts were in it. It's still there. So today I will have to declutter without it.
I am off to do my Monday workout with is a strength training video.

Daily stats:
Type:
Firm Video- Total Body Sculpt
Route: Living room
Time: 41
Average heart rate: 112
Max heart rate: 140
Down 2.2
from last Monday (whoo hoo!)

Wow, it's been a long long time. I had to modify like crazy. I didn't do some parts of the video, but as time goes on, I will get better. The stretching at the end felt great.

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Today I'm making soap. I haven't made soap in a long, long time - weeks. I have missed it so much. I am making my Lavender Meadows. It is a blend of lavender, sweet orange, and clary sage fragrance oils. My last bar went out the door a couple of months ago. I have the oils melted and the lye water mixed. I can't do anything else until the temps cool - usually about 2 hours from the time I melt the oils and mix the lye water. While I am waiting, I have spent some time decluttering the living room. Actually, I haven't really decluttered, I've just cleaned up the mess from our family Christmas on Christmas night.
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Here I am, in my hazmat gear getting ready to mix up the soap.



Here is the mixed soap poured into the mold and ready to transform itself. This will go into the oven for 2 hours. The swirl isn't quite as pronounced as I would like, but it smells wonderful!!!!




Below is a picture of the soap as it came out of the oven. It is in full gel stage. After it cools I will post of pic of how the look changes dramatically.


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Word of the Day:

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Gospel
Lk 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
The other day I was talking about how I wondered if my faith was strong enough to declare it in the face of having a gun pointed at one of my loved ones. Mary experienced this. Imagine raising a child and then having to go through what Mary did.


God bless our troops!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

First of all, I want to wish my sweet youngest daughter a very Happy Birthday. Nina, I will be calling you later with the family tradition of singing an especially obnoxious version of Happy Birthday. I know you're looking forward to it. Tee hee.
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The winds are terrible today and I am nervous about what the roads may be like. It was foggy last night. I am a nervous driver when the weather is bad and I have had many opportunities to face my fears this past month.
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I met my weight loss goal this week - yay me. LOL! I am down 2.4 for the week. Not bad when you consider that Christmas was in the mix. Well, I got up late today so I'm headed for the shower and church. Updates later.
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Word of the day:
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Gospel
Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.


God bless our troops!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008 -

Now that things have more or less settled down, I am remembering some of the moments that stand out from this Christmas. On Christmas day, we begin our celebration at the home of my sister-in-law, Judy. In our family we have many December birthdays - including 2 on Christmas day. As we were singing Happy Birthday, our - soon to be four - grandson (who also has a December birthday) was frantically making the time out sign. When we finished, he shrieked at the top of his lungs -
"IT'S JESUS' BIRTHDAY!!!!" Ah yes, our own little John the Baptist.

Nina is hoping - yes, I can see you, Nina - that I will relate the Grinch episode. Perhaps tomorrow. LOL!
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Yesterday I started carb detox in preparation for "Goal Christmas 2009." Friday is normally a baseline day, but I did a carb down to get the ball rolling. Things are going well and I will give updates as they occur. Workouts begin again tomorrow - hopefully. My challenge for the day is a staff Christmas party tonight after mass. It's fairly informal so no one really watches what anyone else eats. Today is a carb down day so I am going to hang tough.
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Word of the day:
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist
Gospel
Jn 20:1a and 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Today we celebrate St. John - the beloved disciple of Jesus. When I first read today's Gospel, I was wondering about it's placement among all of the Christmas readings. Other than the obvious message, I ponder the irony of this reading - where Peter and John run to the tomb only to find it empty. I look at this Gospel in light of the past few weeks, where our view of Jesus may have been eclipsed by all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations. The disciples saw and believed in the midst of the burial wrappings. Let us see and believe as we take care of the paper and ribbon.


God bless our troops!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Well, the house is a glorious wreck as it always is on the day after Christmas. I left it to head up town. Today is my big shopping day of the year. I hit Walmart to stock up on some supplies for the business and for my own gift giving for next year. Since I make most of my gifts, I concentrate on packaging. I found some great deals. I ran into several people I know and generally just enjoyed the afternoon. I'm exhausted from all of the prep work and I look forward to not having to rush through it next year. I like to take my time and enjoy the process. I am now off to Flylady my way through the mess.

Have a great day all!!!
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Word of the day:
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
Gospel
Mt 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
I often wonder if, when put to the test, I will remain steadfast or if I will cave out of fear. I remember back when the Columbine shootings happened, there was a story of a young girl names Cassie Burnall. One of the shooters held a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in Jesus Christ. When she answered yes, he shot her. I like to think that I would have the courage to stand up for what I believe if there was a gun pointed at my head. But what if I were asked the same question but the gun wasn't point at me but at one of my loved ones? What then? It's thinking about things like that that often cause me to pray for an increase in faith.

God bless our troops!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about forgetting a mass I was supposed to play for because I didn't check my planner that day. Planners only work if you actually check them. So, I put a post-it note on the bathroom mirror to remind me to check it. Last night I received an early Christmas present from Anna.





You laugh, but your day is coming. LOL! Merry Christmas!!!!
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Word of
the day:
The Nativity of the Lord
Christmas

Gospel

Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Merry Christmas!!


God bless our troops!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So ya think you're stressed. Imagine that you are the Parish Manager of a parish in which the church building has a history of leaks. Imagine that the parish spent a lot - and I mean a lot - of money to completely cover all of the stained glass over the sanctuary so that the roof wouldn't leak. Now imagine that on a peaceful Christmas Eve day you wander over to the church to make sure everything is ready for the 2 masses that will be celebrated later that evening. You are greeted by the sight of a leak right smack dab in front of the Nativity Scene. Let us all take a moment and bow our heads in prayer for Sabina as she prepares to break the news to El Pastor.
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Anna will be coming over later because she is worried about getting snowed in on Christmas.
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I had a fairly productive day yesterday. I didn't get everything done, but I made a large dent in the list. Now I am going to dig in and get the rest done. The marathon begins. Updates provided as progress is made.
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This is what I have left to do.

3 gifts in category 4 - can be done tomorrow
Brown beef for tomorrow night and make dish to pass for tomorrow - will be done tonight after Mass

Whewww!!!!! I am pooped.
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Word of the day:
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Gospel
Lk 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

God bless our troops!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Okay, I am hoping that this year is the last year for a while that I will be so swamped that I don't know where to start. Here is my to-do list for the day. I am going to do Flylady increments and see how much of this I can get done today. As I accomplish something, I will amend the list.
And we're off!!!

Tape for Jennifer :) - Done!
Category 1 gifts are done!
4 gift baskets left in category 2
4 - category 3
3- category 4 - got 1 done
wrapping gifts - done
Bathroom 1
Bathroom 2
Laundry room - spent 30 minutes
Living room - started
Master Bedroom
Kitchen - spent 30 minutes
Guest bedroom
Laundry - 1 load left
Batch of snack mix - Done and bagged
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Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Gospel
Lk 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

God bless our troops!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I love everything about winter except . . .
days like today - where I have to be somewhere and the roads are terrible and the snow is blowing and it looks like a blizzard. But the good news is that I found my boots.

Here is the view from our bedroom window. I am doing this with Harold's Christmas present and since he doesn't read my blog - tee hee - he will be none the wiser.




Harold headed out to the country church about 15 minutes ago. He called to give me an update. "You should be okay if you take it easy. Just don't go dinkin' around after church."

Nice. I shall try to refrain from "dinkin' around".

I do not like driving in weather like this, but I am reminding myself that I have driven much further and in worse conditions.

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Well, I survived the trip to and from church. People who live in the city have no idea how bad conditions can be out in the country. The drive to church was not fun, but the drive home was much worse. Before I left this morning I asked God to get me safely there and back. On the way home I was tempted to stop and pick up a few things. This is what I heard.

"There is nothing that you need. Get home."

I did not stop. On the way home it wasn't bad until I got on Old 27. Then the fun began. Every car I met was a mixed blessing - it told me where the road was, but it also kicked up so much snow that I was blinded for a few minutes. Then there were a couple of lovely drifts that I plowed through, but also kicked up a ton of snow which again blinded me. As I turned safely into our driveway, I thanked God for getting me home safely. If I had to get stuck, I was glad that it was in a drift in our driveway and not out on Old 27. I was also thankful that I had found my boots this morning. It was a struggle to get from the car to the house. I think I am going to make some tea, read "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and count my blessings.
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Umm, okay, today of all days, Harold decided to read my blog. But he still does not know how very cool this thing is.

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Yesterday a bunch of us were starting the humongous job of decorating our church for Christmas. In the Catholic church, Christmas does not begin until December 24 with the Vigil mass. Soooooooo, most of our decorating has to wait until after the 4th Sunday of Advent. Before then we can put the trees in place and put out the greenery, but nothing else. After the 4th Sunday we can put out everything and then we hope that we don't have a funeral before Christmas because we break out all of the poinsettias, lighted trees, the red bows, and of course the Nativity. Yesterday morning my friends surprised me with the gift of the most beautiful Nativity scene! I am posting a picture, but to really appreciate the intricate beauty of this set, you have to see it up close.



Thank you, Marlene, Shirley, Jennifer, Teresa, Sue, Monica, and Angela! The best gift is the gift of your friendship, but this is right up near the top. :)

Gospel
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.


God bless our troops!

Saturday, December 20, 2008



Much to do today, will be back later tonight to update.

Word of the day:
Gospel
Lk 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”


God bless our troops!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I woke up today a little bummed because it should have been my last day at Shepherd Schools - and we have a snow day. But then I opened my blog to make an entry and saw a post by my friend Kathy on her blog. For all of you that need a belly laugh on this snowy day in mid-Michigan, here you go.




As I'm watching this video, I am recalling a discussion at our last liturgy meeting in which we discussing the presider's chair for Fr. Kevin. Perhaps this might be a good choice.

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Now, what to do with this snow day. I have several orders to fill, Christmas cards to write, presents to wrap, candles to pour, fudge to make, gift baskets to prepare, laundry to do, papers to file, music planning, house cleaning . . . Flylady - heeeeeeeeeeeelp!

Word of the day:
Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Gospel
Lk 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this?
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:

This passage has always puzzled me because it seems to me that Zechariah is reacting in the same way that Mary did when the angel Gabriel visited her. But then, I see with human eyes. God sees into the heart where faith resides.

God bless our troops!

Thursday, December 18, 2009

There is a storm warning out today. Yesterday there was talk that Friday would be yet another snow day. I hope that doesn't pan out - for several reasons. I always worry about - oooops, pray for - the people out on the road. The other is that Friday is my last day at the school. There was a cake for me yesterday and people came and went to wish me well and have a piece of cake. I never got to know many of these people very well because my position doesn't give me an opportunity for that. I am a para pro, and as such, not part of any of the sub groups in the school system. There are other para pros here, but not in the high school. My replacement for the time being is one I could have hand-picked. She has made the effort to learn the job - coming in during planning hours when she was subbing for other teachers, and generally trying to learn as much as she can. I have worked with her when she subbed for my boss and have grown to love her. I have left her a survival kit consisting of a mug, some cocoa, chocolate (gotta have that), a candle, and room spray. She has been wanting this job ever since she heard that I was leaving. I am thrilled for her and wish her all the best. sniff
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I spent last night getting all of my school gifts and goodies ready. I'm bringing them today. It is may tradition to bring them early lest we have a snow day on the last day. That has happened often over the years.
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Tonight I have our Advent reconcilliation service. I am hoping that the storm will hold off until I get home.
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Tomorrow night we're supposed to go out for a Sodbusters meeting. The Sodbusters consists of Harold, his former boss, and a co-worker who bought a business rental together. We meet every year for dinner on the Sodbuster dime. That reminds me that I need to make a Christmas packet for the ladies. We always have a great time at the Sodbusters meetings.
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Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
Mt 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,


which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

God bless our troops!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whooohooo! My girl won last night. I have rooted for Michelle since the beginning of this season's Biggest Loser. Everyone looked so wonderful - even the 2 ladies that I wanted to boot off from week one.

My own fitness project has taken a back seat to all of the stuff that's been going on. In light of that, I am going to work very hard on being at goal by next Christmas so I have revised my goals. I need to get this done. I have procrastinated - one day at a time - for the last couple of decades. It's amazing how fast time goes by - one day at a time. I was reading about Oprah's weight struggles and she said something that hit me. "I took myself off my list of priorities." That's what I've done. I need to put myself back on that list.

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I am winding down on shop orders and have started on my own gifts for Christmas. I love putting together baskets and bags. In our family, the kids are very creative in their gift giving.

Our tradition of homemade goodies for Christmas began in 1986 - the year our entire crop of dry beans was wiped out in a flood. Money was tight that year. That was when we began making homemade chocolates. Everything we do on our website and at our craft shows has it's roots in our family traditions.

Nicola is carrying on the tradition of her grandmother who always gave us dishtowels with crocheted tops. Mine always needed replacing by Christmas because they were so well used. Now Nicola is filling that void.

Anna does paper crafting and is a talented cook. She is the one who does our packaging. Last year she made all of us baking mixes for Christmas. We decided to add them to our product list.

Melisa's specialty is peanut brittle. Her motto: "We're just a little nuttier than all the rest."

My specialty is fudge, although Nicola and I have vied for that over the years.

Sam makes no-bake cookies. He has a secret ingredient. :)


Word of the day:
Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Gospel
Mt 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Today's Gospel gives us the lineage of Jesus. It is a tapestry woven of many and varied colorful personalities, each one integral in its contribution to history. One can only wonder what these people would think when looking at this genetic line. Did they have any inkling of the importance of their place in the story? Pluck any single person out of this line and our entire history changes. It's something to think about when considering our own role in God's story of salvation. One person makes a huge difference!


God bless our troops!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A deep freeze has settled upon the land. When we were enjoying all of the beautiful autumn days, we knew that we would be paying for them somehow. :) I actually love winter - as long as the roads aren't bad. But then, I live in a warm house. At this time of year we need to count our blessings and see if we can't share them with others. It doesn't take much. Somewhere in our arsenal of time, talent, and treasure is a spare blessing that we can bestow on someone else. Not everyone suffers from physical needs - there are many who suffer spiritual poverty in the midst of material wealth. In the commercial frenzy that whirls around us, let's try and tune in on the quiet voice that calls us to remember who we are and where we come from. Your spare blessing may be someone else's miracle!
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Last night I finished up an order for a baker's dozen of tealights, cut and packaged a batch of fudge, made a batch of snack mix, finished up gifts for the student aides, and started the boxes for family gifts that Melisa and I will be sending out. Tonight I have a batch of jar candles, and a pillar to pour. The house is a mix of scents - cranberry, carrot cake, Christmas pine - I love it!
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Remember the hippopotamus incident from a few days ago? Last night Anna left a comment here on my blog. Apparently, Clayton told her that her mother (meaning me - his grandmother) is not very good at hiding presents. Et tu, Clayton? LOL!

Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Gospel
Mt 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Here is my opinion. Both sons disrespected their father.
Second son - scribes, pharisees . . . us
First son - tax collectors, prostitutes and - by the grace of God - us.

God bless our troops!

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I have received my first award!

I am so excited. My friend Carla from Country Road Primitves sent me this, my very first award:




There is a protocol to receiving this award. Here are the rules:

1. Post a copy on your blog.
2. Mention who gave you the award.
3. Pass the award onto 6 others.
4. Leave a message on their blog letting them know the award has been bestowed upon them.

Here are the 6 people I would like to award the Spreader of Love:

1. Cider Moon Cottage
2. Vintage Log Cabin
3. Oodlekadoodle Primitives
4. Crows in the Attic Primitives
5. The Holly Tree Blog
6. Back Porch Pickins

Time to spread the love!

Monday - December 15, 2008

First of all - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ANNA!!

Got called into work early. The first day of my last week. It's hard for me to believe . . . that it's my last week, that is. :) I'll try to check in later, but no promises.

Gospel

Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Mt 21:23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Let's see, did we not have Pharisees milling about and being baptized by John? You really can't believe one without believing the other. I love it when Jesus answers questions with questions . . . because in doing so he gives some of the most amazing answers.

God bless our troops!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008



Help! I've been hijacked by two little gremlins. Updates later.



Gospel

Third Sunday of Advent
Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,’”

as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Clearly, John the Baptist did not suffer from any kind of identity crisis. He knew exactly who he was and he knew his mission - to testify to the light - to make straight the way of the Lord. Is our mission any different?

God bless our troops!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

I have a super busy day ahead. I have children's choir rehearsal this morning. Then I have several batches of jar candles to pour. I need to get the house somewhat straightened up. Clay and Claire are coming tonight to help us decorate the Christmas tree. I haven't finished all of the student aide packages - they're about half done. Tomorrow we have a get together at Howard and Colleen's so I have to make sure all of my packages are wrapped. There's more, but that's enough to think about for now.

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Word of the day:
Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr
Gospel
Mt 17:9a, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
It's easy, in hindsight, to fault the people of Jesus' day for not recognizing him. I remember listening to a Paul Harvey Christmas broadcast about the Holy Family being turned away because there was no room at the inn. It ended with these words. "'If they had known who was knocking at the door of the inn, they would have made room.'" The answer, "We know, and we still don't make room."


God bless our troops!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I had a busy night last night. We received several orders off of the website. Each one required a candle pour of some kind. So I made some grubby tarts in cinnamon and gingerbread. I also worked on some Christmas presents. I have 2 liturgies today so I got my folders in order for those. The rest of the evening I worked on the gifts that Kristi and I will be giving to the student library aides. This year they will be getting a block of Mrs. M's famous fudge, a packet of cocoa, microwave popcorn, and chocolate dipped cookies. These are packaged in a snowman bowl then the package is tied with ribbon and a candy cane is inserted. The student aide gifts have been my thing for the last 13 years. I will miss it.



I have Mass to play at 12:30. We usually have Mass at 9:00 on Friday's and because this Mass time was changed, I had to take the day off from work. It hurts a bit because we also had 2 snow days, and I had a funeral yesterday so my hours are really low. My last paycheck from work is going to be small.

My exercise program is again taking a back seat to the myriad of things I have to get done. We received a fudge order last night so I will be making lots of fudge in the next few days. (We give fudge in our family gift baskets so I'll just make double batches.)

I am off to make a batch of peanut butter fudge before heading out to church.
Have a great day all!

From the St. Nicholas Center:
In many places St. Nicholas is the main gift giver. His feast day, St. Nicholas Day, is December 6, which falls early in the Advent season. Some places he arrives in the middle of November and moves about the countryside, visiting schools and homes to find out if children have been good. Other places he comes in the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with children's wish lists. Small treats are left in shoes or stockings so the children will know he has come.

Where St. Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary gift giving day. Parties may be held on the eve, December 5th, and shoes or stockings left for St. Nicholas to fill during the night. Children will find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

I am of Italian descent so here is this little tidbit:

The big Italian San Nicola festival commemorates the 1087 arrival of St. Nicholas' remains in Bari, Italy. When Turks conquered Asia Minor, many Christians were afraid they would no longer be permitted to visit the popular pilgrimage site of Nicholas' tomb in Myra. So Italian sailors spirited the relics away to Bari where a huge basilica was built in honor of the saint. At the festival every May, Nicola's statue is taken out to sea for a day. Thousands welcome it back to Bari with a lighted procession winding from the harbor to a public square. The mayor and other dignitaries greet the statue and address the crowds. The week-long celebration includes a solemn high mass in the basilica which is filled to over-flowing with devout worshipers.

San Nicola with angels
Vintage Italian Postcard
St Nicholas Center Collection

On St. Nicholas Eve in December, children in Molfetta, a city on the Adriatic Sea, put a plate on the table with a letter asking for gifts and promising to be good in the coming year. During the night, San Nicola fills most of the requests and piles the plates with chocolates, candies, and other good things. It is a magical night for children; the surprises make a joyous morning for everyone.


I wish that we could separate the Santa Clause/St. Nicholas tradition from the feast of Christmas. More and more we are losing the meaning. The things that happened on Black Friday - when a Walmart temp. was killed by a mob of shoppers - make me sad. When did we go from a plate of goodies or a stocking with small gifts to a once a year baccanalia of greed? No, not everyone is that way. Most people are not that way, but I am sad for the ones who see Christmas as a day to get as much as they can because the rest of the year is so barren. We have put expecatations on this one day that can never be met- we stress ourselves out trying to do everything we think we are "supposed" to do.


Our kids remember fondly the Christmas we celebrated after the flood of 1986. Our crop of dry beans had not been harvested and when the rains fell, our crops were lost. That year we made all of our gifts - dipped chocolates and fudge. We had so much fun working together. A tradition was born that year that we continue today. Our favorite part of the season is the making of our gifts.

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Word of the day:

Our lady of Guadalupe

Gospel Lk 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.


God bless our troops!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

I had a fairly productive day yesterday. Claire and I made batch of fudge and a batch of white chocolate snack mix. The girls and I are getting ready to put together the boxes that we will be sending out to family for Christmas. I am slowly making headway on getting the house together - that will be a long process.
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The exercise thing is just not working out. I'm tempted to schedule it for later in the day, but I know me - it won't happen. I think the only solution is to get it in first thing in the morning - before I have a chance to talk myself out of it. I don't know why it's such a big deal. Once I'm going, I'm fine. I don't know what it is about getting started that is so hard.
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Word of the day:
Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
Gospel
Mt 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


God bless our troops!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another snow day. This one was unexpected. Yesterday I had Clay and Claire over, but needed to get some things done so Clay stayed while Claire went home with Mommy. I promised her that she could come down some time without Clay. This morning she woke up and said to her mom, "me go Gramma's. No Clay." So my little Claire-Bear will be coming down later.

I got done what I needed to get done yesterday. It's a good thing too. Clay has been telling me that he wants a collection of Hippopottamuses (?) for Christmas. I have been buying them here and there and they are in various parts of the house. The daybed in the piano room is where everything gets dumped. Yesterday, Clay plopped himself down in the piano room and seemed to be daydreaming.

"What are you doing, Clay?"

"Oh, I'm just looking at the hippopotamus on the daybed. He's looking at me, too."

Oooooops, Grandma forgot to put that one in the closet.

A trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house is not complete without a session of jumping on the bed. They had run ahead of me and when I got there, Clay was jumping up and down with a video in his hand that we bought for Claire for Christmas. Ooooooops. After both of them went home I did a search for any stray presents. Clay and Claire are not the only ones who like to snoop.
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No formal workout today. I will try and do some weights later.
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Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Mt 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:

An aria from one of my all time favorite works:



It is amazing the ways in which God speaks to us.



God bless our troops!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today is a snow day. I love winter. I love snow. The only thing I don't love is dangerous roads. I get a bonus day off from work - paid, no less - but there is a trade off. I feel anxious about everyone else who has to drive in this weather. Still, I'd rather do my praying here at home than at work. :) In a little while my two little buddies will be here. Can't think of a better way to spend some bonus time off.
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The scarecrow is finally down. The corn shock is on the ground waiting to be disposed of. Today I will get my little helpers to help me bring up the Christmas decorations.
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It's gotten so I hate to even turn the radio on lately. Nothing but dismal and depressing news. My friend Jennifer sent this to me a while ago. I'm posting it because you never can get enough Good News!



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Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Gospel
Mt 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Any shepherd will tell you that the average shepherd will not leave his flock to search out one. Aren't we blessed that Jesus is not the average shepherd?

God bless our troops!


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Monday, December 8, 2008

I have checked my planner this morning so I know that I have 2 masses today - one at noon and one at 7:00. I changed the numbers yesterday and double checked them. I made the worship aides for tonight so that's all set.
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I put together the orders that need to go out today and put in a pickup request. I poured tea light shells Saturday and yesterday and have 4 left to fill the order of 13. (I only have one mold). I poured Advent candles and still have several sets to do. I have a couple of stockings to make for family gifts. I have a bunch of something to do that I can't mention here because the recipients read my blog. I finished some other presents which I also can't mention here. I have 13 gift packages for student aides that need to be put together. (Hmmm, that number 13 is dogging me.) Sometime this week I need to get boxes together to mail out for Christmas. A girl at school said something about someone wanting some fudge so I'll be making that too.

I managed to get the living room cleaned up. Unfortunately, to get to it, one has to pass through the messy laundry room and the cluttered music room making sure not to look into the disordered kitchen when passing by. 15 minutes at a time, I'll get there, though. I did get my lighted garland wrapped around the porch rail, however it is in direct contrast to the scarecrow and corn shock with still grace our bell pole. That comes down tonight as soon as I find my boots.
There's more to do, but I have inflicted enough torture on myself for one day, and I'm sure everyone else is in the same boat. LOL! Why do we do this to ourselves? I do it because it's fun. I really do enjoy it. I suspect most other people do too.
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Last night, while trying to find some decent recordings of arias from "Messiah", I inadvertently added a second playlist to my blog. So "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" loads and then the second list loads "Carol of the Bells." It was an interesting statement on how we prepare for Christmas. We have the evocotive Advent Carol which speaks of the coming of our savior, but intertwined with it is the phrenetic Carol of the Bells. It seemed almost a dual between the spiritual world and the secular world. Interesting! Sounds like a God-Breeze to me.
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I said that I was going to get back on track with my fitness goals so I am off to do a stint on the treadmill.

Daily stats:
Type: Treadmill
Route: Manual
Time: 20 minutes
Average heart rate: 115
Max heart rate: 132
Above my target goal wt. for today

Word of the day:
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Gospel
Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
Because today's readings talk about the annunciation there is often some confusion about the meaing of the "Immaculate Conception." For many years I believed that this referred to Jesus' conception.

Here is a clip from an article at Catholic Answers:

The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what "immaculate" means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

The traditional translation, "full of grace," is better than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of "highly favored daughter." Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for "daughter"). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning "to fill or endow with grace." Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.

In other words, Mary received at her conception, that which we receive in Baptism - an entryway to heaven through Jesus Christ. God is her savior just as he is our savior.

In light of Mary's obedience in making room for Jesus in her life, we would do well - in the midst of this hustle and bustle - to remember that making room for Jesus in our lives is the top priority. Now and always.




God bless our troops!

Sunday, December 7, 2008 - Pearl Harbor Day

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. When I was serving at St. Vincent de Paul parish in Shepherd, the deacon there, John Wilberding, always preached on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. He was stationed there in 1941. He lived to tell about it because he went to Mass that morning. When I planned the music for this weekend, Pearl Harbor never entered my mind. I am not at St. Vincent any more and so I didn't hear John preach about it. In fact, as an elderly deacon, John is not able to preach any more and so no one at St. Vincent heard him either. I find this sad because he still has much to tell us.

Last night at Mass, a friend of mine who served as a nurse in the Navy, asked if we were going to have a patriotic song. She remembered the date. She was alive when Pearl Harbor happened. I am bothered by the fact that it slipped my mind and somewhat ashamed. Those things that affect our lives tend to stay with us. I was not yet born when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but I can tell you exactly where I was when I found out my mother had died, or when John F. Kennedy was shot, or when my grandfather called to tell me my father had died, or when I heard about the World Trade Towers. Does my forgetting mean that I don't care? No, because I do care. It means that I am human. My memory isn't as sharp as it used to be, or is it that as we get older there is so much more to remember?

But we need to make an effort to remember. We need to pass these memories down to our children and grandchildren, lest they be lost.

In this second week of Advent, there just isn't any place in the liturgy to insert a patriotic song, but I can type up a petition for the prayers of the faithful for our men and women in service to their country and to all who died at Pearl Harbor. Remembering is the least we can do. Passing the memory on is the best we can do. Listen to the readings this weekend in light of the sacrifices that many have made for us - and then think of Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us. Think about what motivates this kind of sacrifice.

Word of the day:
Second Sunday of Advent
Reading 1
Is 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Gospel
Mk 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Thoughts from the cornfield:
I included the first reading today because we hear it whenever we go to a Christmas performance of Messiah. I never hear these readings without hearing the music that Handel wrote. Amid all of the dark readings we have heard over the last few weeks, comes this shining jewel of hope and joy.

Today we begin the Gospel of Mark and hear about John the Baptist who foretells the coming of Christ. John the Baptist was an odd figure - not aesthetically pleasing to the eye and many mistook him for the Messiah. He got in people's faces, most notably Herod, and got himself killed. Though John is not a Hallmark figure, not a warm fuzzy character, he is an important voice as we prepare for Christmas, because what motivated John? What motivated any of the prophets, and martyrs? What motivated Jesus? Why did Jesus come to us. There is only one thing that motivates any of us to do anything and that is Love. But it is what we love that defines us as people and maps out our destiny.


God bless our troops, whose love for their country and its people should never be forgotten - ever.