Sunday, June 12, 2016

A barrel of humanity

When my husband and I take a driving trip we usually end up eating at a Cracker Barrel. The same was true on our last trip. The restaurant was very crowded that day, and since I am not a big fan of crowds, I really dreaded going in. We were pretty hungry since we'd been driving for several hours, so I thought I'd suck it up and just go on in there.

I usually don't like crowds. Sometimes it seems like everyone is always in a hurry or they don't have time for even a smile. No one says "Excuse me" or even acknowledges you when you say it. People seem to be less tolerant of people with small children, or someone elderly who moves slower than that person might think they should.

Right away, I noticed something. Even though it was crowded, people were really courteous and nice. I saw people smiling. I saw people holding doors open for others. I heard people politely asking if others were in line before they jumped up to the front.

My fear of crowds dissipated as I let myself relax and enjoy the positive for once. Even though we were tired, I felt much better when we got back in the truck to continue on our journey.

With all the negatives on the horizon lately, it was nice to have a little respite on the road.

We need to pray for our country, for each other and for ourselves, that we will remember that we are the hands of feet of Jesus. We can show him in a smile, in a kind word and in a small gesture.

"Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.” ― Thérèse de Lisieux

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I'm not really worried

This has been one rough year, hasn't it? This election cycle alone has been enough to drive you crazy. Every where you turn, there is conflict, violence and strife, and people just seem to be getting angrier every day. I am sure that there are way more people who have developed problems with anxiety because of it. 

I think feeling this way is one downturn to having instant access to "news." I put that in quotes because it's even more difficult than ever to know which "news" source you can trust. Social media seems to exacerbate the problem. I have a wide variety of "friends" on Facebook (which I am very thankful for) and in one day alone I can see 10 or more differing opinions on any given issue. And every one of these people who post their opinions are very sincere in their beliefs. A lot of them are people whose judgement I trust. 

I find myself feeling confused and conflicted on a daily basis. I feel like I'm always second-guessing myself. I've decided to stop doing that. I seemed to get a feeling of renewal around Easter this year. I love the book of Acts, and that period between Easter and Pentecost. The stories of the early church are fascinating to me. Living under the Roman occupation in Jerusalem was way worse than what we have seen. I cannot imagine how terrible life was there. My husband and I were watching "The Bible" and "A.D. The Bible Continues" when something dawned on me. During that horrible time, when the Jews were once again under the power of another people,  God sent his Son like he promised them he would. He sent the Redeemer, and even though there are still people who don't know him or won't believe, we have the promise he gave us. He will return. But until then, we can receive him in the Eucharist until he returns. We can be his hands and his feet and bring his love to others, knowing that we have the peace that passes all understanding.

So I am not really worried. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

You won't believe this!

It has been a long time since I have worked on my blog. There are a few reasons for that, but the primary one was that I did not have an available computer at home. My old Mac from 2007 finally bit the dust. You can turn it on, but typing is another story!

I had an iPad, but no keyboard attached to it. Finally, last week, my iPad got dropped and it would not work anymore. RT (my husband) bought me a brand new iPad and got me a keyboard to go with it! So I am really back this time. We have a nice computer upstairs, but I don't want to get up there and leave RT downstairs alone watching tv. We really do enjoy our time together after work every evening, watching our movies and hanging out together. Now that I have this new little toy of mine, I can truly say I am back.

About a week ago, a priest friend of mine suggested a book for me to read, and I am really excited! We just finished watching A.D. The Bible Continues (which incidentally was syncing up with our daily readings this year) and I discovered that I really wanted to read about the early church fathers. I love the book of Acts, and am fascinated with the travels of the Apostles and other early Christians and how the gospel was spread. I find the story of Peter, the prince of the Church fascinating. I find the story of Paul, who some say is the greatest apostle, fascinating. I have figured out that my faith is still being formed, even at my age.

The book that was recommended to me is "From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist" by Edward Foley, a Capuchin. My friend felt that reading this book, which is about the "source and summit" of our faith, would be a good way for me to begin my journey.

We are coming up on the 12th anniversary or our daughter's death. It is a hard time of the year for us, and it really doesn't get easier. Recently, I have said that our sweet granddaughter Rosemary has put little pieces of our hearts back into place again. Just being with her brings us such joy! Now we have another little sweetheart on the way! In late July, we are expecting another sweet little girl, whose name will be Vivian.

Pray for us as we face this tough week leading up to the anniversary. Believe this!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The "Song" of the Church

I have been doing some freelance writing lately for a blog called This is my fourth published article and it is original to that blog. I have updated things I wrote here before for my previous articles. 

There are some wonderful articles on this blog. We are fortunate to have some great writers out there contributing to a really fabulous blog. 

Here is my latest: 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The emotional roller coaster of life...

This summer has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Since school let out, we have lost two young people in the same way I lost my Lauren.

First it was a beautiful little girl named Katie and then a handsome young man named Dustin. I didn't know either of these young people personally, but I know their parents' grief. My heart breaks when I see that news come across  Facebook.

I always write to the parents. I have to. People who had experienced our loss reached out to us. I think it is only right that I do the same.

On the other side of the coin, we had a wonderful family visit in Las Vegas two weeks ago. It was our granddaughter Rosemary's first plane flight, and her first time to meet her Grandpa's big Italian family. She met her Great Great Aunt Mary, who is one of the oldest in our family. Since her great grandparents are gone, it was good that Aunt Mary was able to see her.  She was a real trouper and did a wonderful job for only being 10 months old. She made her Mimi very proud and happy.

My husband was with all three of his siblings for the first time since their father's death. Their spouses and children were also with us. Our cousins from Calif. came to meet Rosie and spend time with us. We ate a lot of good food and had a lot of laughs and there were lots of family stories repeated and shared. One of the best things for me was attending mass at the Cathedral with my little family and our cousins, Jodie and Frances.

We went to a very special wedding last weekend, and will be going to another tomorrow.  The one last weekend was one of Lauren's first little friends, Jessica. She and Jessica went to the same after school day care. Jessica is always so happy to see us when we run across her anywhere. She is such a sweet girl, and made a spectacularly beautiful bride.

Tomorrow we will go to Ashley's wedding. Her family and our family have been friends since we came to Mississippi. We tailgate with her parents every fall. Ashley is such a wonderful girl, with a very loving heart. We are so excited to be a part of these young people's happy days.

As we approach fall, there are elections coming up here in Mississippi and football season is around the corner. For now we will enjoy the dog days of summer, grilling on our patio, and spending time with friends. We look forward to celebrating our Rosie's first birthday in September.

Family Photo in Vegas! Almost everybody was there! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Baptized with vinegar

This article was originally published at
A while back I heard Mark Hart, the Bible Geek on the radio and one of the things he said made me laugh, but it stuck with me. He was talking about Christian joy (or the lack thereof) and he said, “Some people look like they were baptized with vinegar.”
At first, I thought that was hysterically funny, but after I thought about it, I realized he was right. I play piano and organ at Mass every Sunday, and from my vantage point, I can see the whole congregation. It’s amazing how many people, even the priest sometimes, really have a sour look on their faces from time to time. It made me wonder a couple of things - Why is that the case? And, do I look that way to others?
Why would we look sour at Mass, of all places, when we are about to embark on the most remarkable journey mankind has ever known? Maybe because we are human, and we can’t fathom the depth of what is about to happen? Do we take it for granted? St. John Vianney explained that even the priest may not be able to appreciate his own part in this miracle: "O, how great is the priest! ... If he realized what he is, he would die," St. John Vianney said.
Now, I understand that everybody has a bad day now and then. I have heard all the arguments about how “Mass is boring” from adults and kids alike. I always want to remind them that Mass is not supposed to be entertainment. It is what we are called to do by the Lord Himself. I think He told us to do it in His memory until He comes back and we don’t have to any more. Where is our joy then?
Hart’s comment certainly gave me pause to examine myself. We have only one Sunday Mass at our little parish and it is at 8 a.m. It is a sacrifice sometimes to get up on Sunday, like a regular workday in order to be there in time to play at Mass. But I have tried to give that to Jesus. Being joyful that time of morning is another thing. I pray I can learn to be more joyful, and that the light of Christ can shine through me.
I figure if I can be joyful at that 8 a.m. Mass every Sunday, it will spill over into my everyday life. "Christian joy is a gift of God flowing from a good conscience,” St. Philip Neri said. I think we all need to embrace that. No more vinegar!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Please don't stop the pain

The other day during one of our three commencement exercises at the college where I work, I found myself overwhelmed by a memory of Lauren that cut me to the bone. As the communications staff, we are required to sit on the coliseum floor near the stage in order to be able to photograph students receiving their diplomas and coming off the stage. We do it every year, but this year was particularly hard for me.

It reminded me of the night, nine days after Lauren's death, that my husband, son and I sat in the same place during Lauren's graduation ceremony. A bouquet of flowers sat in her chair.

Lately, I have been thinking about how memories of Lauren are everywhere around me. I even said to someone that there was no escaping it.  It was bothering me quite a bit at first, but then I realized something: I want those memories- no matter how painful some of them can be. I don't want those painful memories to stop any more that I would want to lose the good ones.

So I will cherish the memories- good ones and painful ones, if it means she will always stay near to me.