Friday, December 19, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were
not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas pass it on if you wish.'

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thoughts for the Day

An email gift that my daughter got from a UK friend and shared with me. No idea where these wonderful pictures came from originally but they were so cute I just had to share.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Angels Explained by Children:

Kids say it all from the heart and with sincerity we can learn from.
Angels Explained by Children:

I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.
Gregory, 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it. Olive, 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes. Matthew, 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else. Mitchell, 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science. Henry, 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!. Jack, 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead. Daniel, 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten.
And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado. Reagan, 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter. Sara, 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter. Jared, 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn't go for it. Antonio, 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth. Katelynn, 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets.
And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it. Vicki, 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. Sarah, 7

from my email group:Pat

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day of the Turtle

Today my SiL found a turtle visiting the cat food bowls by the back step. You can see a picture of it here. This brought back to memory something that happened years ago.

Our family was going to the coast from mid - Texas to visit relatives. A long trip by car in those days, and quite an adventure in the days before common air conditioning. We had gotten a fair way down the road when my much older brother, who was driving suddenly stopped. He had spotted a turtle by the side of the highway. It was moving a little, but not in great shape. He was convinced that it was a water related type from some thing he had read or seen. He couldn't leave it there, since this was a dryer part of the state. So we put in the back with me. We feed it some bits from lunch and gave it water. Generally it rested and munched. It drank with me holding the lid I used for a dish tilted at first then it stretched out to get what it needed. Our turtle friend revived slowly but surely as we went along. We bought a can of meat for it, canned ham I think. It ate lettuce and veggies as well. We were happy that it seemed to like us and took to our talking to it, letting us gently touch it as we went along. It was a shock for the family when we arrived. I think we always were sort the wilder side of the clan to them; but at least we were never dull to have in their home. They were glad to see us come, seriously welcomed us (maybe hoped to exert a more civilized influence - not sure it worked).

This trip had a special plan which I hadn't been let in on, pending days off arranged,etc. We were to get to go to Corpus Christi's Buccaneer Days. My last Halloween costume had been a satin pirate outfit with black oilskin "boots" to wear over my shoes. My brother had a bandanna and some gear, too. Now we knew we had to try to find the turtle a home as quickly as possible., but no one offered to take our turtle before the festival. Some marine study group gave advice on food and handling, but the place most likely to have room for it was closed as they were already gone for their set up at festival themselves. We did get information on their plans and booth.

We found a box for the turtle that night. We covered it, making sure of provisions and air. We put it in their kitchen as living with it in bed was forbidden and not considered good for the turtle. (That was the argument I remember working.) We went to bed thinking of our poor little critter and secretly planning an alternate course - how we might get it set up as a real pet at home. About three in the morning some thumps, thuds and general clangs were heard in the kitchen. It made me hungry, so I went to see who was clumsily raiding the goodies from the family feast. The lady of the house was in the hallway, also checking it out with a very different idea as to the noise. We were soon joined by most of the folks. The men decided to find out by rushing the swinging door which didn't open as they had expected. So not hearing sounds for a moment they began to try to get it to swing toward them. Then the bangings began again, since then hadn't scared off - the whoever/whatever - they braced themselves and sent the women back a pace or two. Being Texans and proud of it the women started looking for heavy objects. When the door opened out they entered throwing on the light - and seeing one? Then the thud from under the kitchen table got their attention, there was the turtle shoving the shiny chrome chairs around the room. Everyone relaxed and laughed at the strong little guy. It had re-arranged the trash container and mops, too. Our turtle was feeling a lot better. My brother and I had to put turtle back to settle in the box again after apologizing for it and straighting the room. We were kinda proud at what it could do, but decided not to tell them we felt that just then.

When they said we were going to Buccaneer Days I was elated, and by now we had realized the turtle was to going to have to go along. We didn't dare let it roam the house alone. I was to have the privilege of carrying it and caring for it most of the time. I gloried in being trusted and in the way the family had come around and accepted the turtle. My concern was on figuring out what to call my new friend. It was years before I realized that this left my brother freer to enjoy wandering around this way. Little sister and turtle were accounted for and willing to stay in one spot over and over while showing it off, feeding it, etc.

Turtle (since I couldn't get a name it would respond to) watched the parade with me and played along for awhile, but it grew tired of showing off and soon tucked itself in and napped. My brother had found some of the people he'd talked to on the phone and gone with them. When he got back it was clear he'd also found some beer. The napping turtle was still avoiding the traveling show life and I was getting tired, too. I started carrying it sideways for comfort. My brother had caught the eye of a couple of older teen girls and he wanted to impress them. He hadn't quite listened when their small talk went to my "clutch bag".

He was telling how he'd seen the turtle and got it, they wanted to skip the next part and see the turtle shell close up. I let them, at his request; a great conversation piece.....if you are into screams.....Turtle came out stretching and pawing and blinking. They nearly dropped it, that was one of those moments where my brother and looked at other and we saw the difference between us (critter lovers) and THEM(those who Never meant to touch a _whatever__) as we caught it away from them. I guess they thought he'd been about to tell them how he'd made the turtle into my 'purse' or something. He was disappointed in the lovelies failure and said so. They were still squeally-silly and wide-eyed, and I'd swear the turtle smirked. Turtle and I went to a grassy place for practical considerations and getting further from the noise and excitement. It was a very unique evening for all.

We did eventually get our turtle friend a home in San Antonio at the Zoo. By then we were both happy and sad to give it up. I thought the week-end was a very suitable adventure for a young pirate and a sea loving brother. Our extended kindred happily sent us home again with their prayers and good wishes.

When our family went to see the new Pirates movie my grandchildren, daughter and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. We did wear a bit of suitable gear, and enjoyed seeing some teens truly decked out in their favorite characters duds.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Good thought for Valentine's Day

From the Franciscan's e-card site. Just click the image

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


1. The Bible will still have the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

--Author Unknown

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Acceptance in the Body

This came up in my list mail and I felt I ought to share it here too.

"When I think of Evangelization and Fundamentalism I think of those who on the one hand teach on solid Bible principles and scholarship (Evangelization) over those who will take Scripture and twist the words found in the Holy Book or will take sections of the Bible out of context to serve their purpose."

May God bless all our understandings and acceptings of each other in the body of Christ.  This topic really touches me.

I understand very well how sad and silly some of the divisions in the church have been. As a family we have encountered many of these sorts of 'hang-ups' that build walls instead of bridges. We have conciously chosen not to close the door ourselves on family. We have also seen God deal with those who would not repent of abusing their brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter what their excuse.

I came from a fundamentalist background. Although family members were Catholic on one side, and I was exposed to the Catholic church, I mostly attended an offshoot of the Church of Christ (they left the main group because they allowed a piano). They were very strict and didn't believe any Christians (Catholic, Baptist, Orthodox etc) who held different opinions were even saved!

I became a Catholic in Texas when I had returned after a divorce to aid an elderly relative facing severe health problems and then death. Sacred Heart reached out to us when we arrived, poor, with my son-in-law in need of fresh work (his union training didn't transfer), and with my daughter carrying my granddaughter. We were very grateful to them and realized they were trying to live their witness. My daughter's non-denominational upbringing left her with doctrinal questions that prevented her from joining me there, but she acknowledged they were believers! She has been very blessed by Mother Angelica's program and Bro. John Michael Talbot's music too.

My daughter was baptized in a community of serious, very separated (non-Catholic) brothers called Oakleigh. A family of blood ties that took property in the hills of Virginia and ministered to the youth at the nearby college. They prayed long, sang scripture, studied together, spoke in tongues, and preached as led by the spirit. They had left 'the big time' for the personal ministry and did change lives by being there. They also lived their their walk with Jesus by personally attending new believers who were trying to leaving drugs or bad situations with God's help. They established houses for these students and got them to services in town and time out in the countryside. They were reaching for the church of Acts as directly as they could. The healing there were usually the long haul kind and the changed people wanted to help others also. There were some laying on hands and those who responded to it, but never was it taken lightly or for granted. The expectation was for an answer and waiting to see what the answer would be in the case. Oakleigh wasn't perfect but it was real. You met all sorts of Christians there. Some came from mainline denominations, some were Mennonite, some were Catholic, some were Messianic, and some were just Jesus Freaks. What a rich and varied body of believers they were! We fed each other literally and spiritually. Sundays were an all day event(with meals), everybody brought what they could. It felt like coming home every week. There was such a loving spirit from so many believers there that you always hungered for more time with them. The church was surprised when they kept hearing words of going out and becoming scattered seed. All there were in shock to see a change in this peaceful, secure world. The haven was expelling the chicks. Some finished school and feeling called to mend with their root families went home. One youth minister was called back to his Catholic roots. Others had to move for jobs. One of these founding brothers was later martyred abroad while preaching the gospel.

It has been a long time, but we've not seen a church like it since then. I felt I found some of this spirit among my Catholic friends in Texas. My daughter is still looking.

My son-in-law has no church background to speak of; His parents are nominal Missouri Mormons.  He went to a Baptist high school to escape abuse at the public one and made a confession of faith there once but mostly he justed talked to God on his own.

Unfortunately these Baptists were (& are) prejudiced against other races and especially the Jews, which offended him (as he is part Native Am). He could read for himself this wasn't Biblical or loving. Asking about it ended the association for years. When he did visit other churches in his home county he was not well received because of determined slander fomented against his whole family that preceded his arrival.His falling out over the bigotry issue didn't help because others weren't told about it that way. Neither he nor his family are bad people, though they are angry. His father is still very generous to the needy, but the lies put against them have been very bad indeed. Few Christians have ever shown them love. Precious few pray about what they hear before acting on it.

My son-in-law wanted to get information about real Christians and what this life meant, and he was willing to go there but not by playing games. Unfortunately the social structure in churches the new family went to made some of them more buddy/gossip clubs than any help at all. It was easy for a few hate-mongerers to make any new acquaintances keep their distance. My daughter taught him what she believed, but she seemed to be the only one until I joined them again in Virginia.

The Catholic church here is not very close, so I couldn't help him there, though I enjoyed the fellowship of the lay Carmelites here for awhile myself. (Those meetings are now out of the area).

So we encouraged him to come with us to to what at first seemed a reasonable Charismatic church in the next county. They refused to counsel or explain anything, although he made his serious requests plain. They were not willing to pray over him (or my infant grandson) in service and were publicly put off when there was no charismatic display from us. Spoken to after services they said, basically, we could show up every time the doors opened and contribute on their terms.(?) They invited us once to their ladies bible study but the Holy Spirit warned us not to go. Then we got to see some of their worse problems and quit going. Eventually that pastor got in trouble for covering for his wild nephew (who led their youth ministry) after a deadly traffic accident. God dealt with them but my son-in-law was left another year wondering if there were any real believers outside of his family. For a while, he wouldn't believe that it was Jesus who had made us so different.

My daughter and I looked to God; prayed; played John Michael Talbot, Lamb, Keith Green, & Michael Card; and wondered at the strong opposition to his appeal. Later a determined if slightly shocked Black Apostolic minister did meet him at the hospital, counseled him, prayed over him, and later baptized him. He still has problems but at least since them we meet them together with Jesus' help.

My son-in-law has gone through multiple surgeries in the past two years. He has finally had a condition removed that has existed since his early life or perhaps before birth.

The doctors could not identify it until the present. We talk about Job with a good bit or feeling. We prayed for his healing for a long time, but certainly weren't willing to deny the problems, which offended the Evangelicals. Their insistence that he deny the problem 'in faith' (and he'd be all better) made him feel like they were calling him crazy. He even told them once that God doesn't like liars and he wasn't going to lie about what he was dealing with.

He has been trying for years to explain it to various doctors and watched them shake their heads about it. So too his spiritual life, he has had questions about the faith for years but no one seemed concerned enough to just talk to him about Jesus.

There are sitters and 'real church' in most denominations I expect. It is fantastic when you find a LIVE church like Oakleigh was, but lukewarm, worldly 'churchy' societies can actually impede people finding Christ and can even weaken the faith of believers who go there for prayer support.

We do need to pray for each other's problems. We do need to have faith, but God's answers may not be what we expect - or when we expect.


I remember as a small child hearing of the healings Jesus did, so when the family stopped in for refreshment at the old soda fountain I prayed for a man I saw with crutches; I expected with a child's faith to see him walk off with out them. I cried when he didn't. Then I heard a whisper that God would have his heart, and for this one he would die badly if he had gotten that help. He would not understand where it came from. A few years later I saw him again, newly married, he had taken his wife to the soda fountain for lunch. He talked joyfully about their church, the peace he had now in his still new faith, the fine friends and love there. I got to see the answer, and he mentioned his dark moods from the second world war and feeling so free in living that he could not have imagined it existed.

In Christ,

Monday, September 11, 2006


Standing Tall - yes, we have a lot to be proud of. We have accomplished a great deal; we have overcome a lot of the old prejudices and problems. We have more to do, and we need to improve our individual lives and way of life as Americans without giving away those very special things we inherited that set us apart as a country. Our rights and privileges, our freedoms. Our willingness to STAND TOGETHER, to aid our own in needs and crises periods; to really care. We know we must STAND UP to those who make themselves an enemy to our lives and -basically- to life itself. We need to choose carefully what we STAND FOR daily, for we no longer have separate front line.We need to consider what we STAND ON, our combined inheritance. Our everyday representation of the Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness should reflect the best values we possess and our willingness to remember the price of their free expression here. Some of our finest possessions are these truths and some of our finest people have lain down to keep them for us. We should STAND WITH THE FALLEN in the gratitude and remember what value they placed on this nation when they gave themselves freely for it. War has never totally ignored the people doing ordinary things in ordinary ways. but now it is without a covering or a place to STAND BEHIND. We all follow the pain and grieving and determine to remember the loss. the painful continuence and to rebuild in time. We will heal, but not forget; we will be able to forgive if that is received, but we will not be dissuaded from the terrible truth of the betrayal of our friendship as a people to peoples. We will not be disheartened nor thrust down by men. or a man. We can bend, bow like a supple tree, and restraighten ourselves. We can do some of our best work on our knees, where we will pray, profess and rededicate ourselves to the TRUTH of God, and rise again to STAND UP AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNITED in our brotherhood, able to work together for our own good and that of the world. We refute the active enemy of our people and give our heartfelt support the those who aid, assist and protect us all, whether known or unknown, seen or never heard widely, whether in uniform or plain street wear and no matter how much we look or sound differently on the surface of our lives. We STAND BEFORE THE FIRE and we plan to pass through together to the better side. Let those who oppose our people or think to oppress us beware; AMERICA IS STILL STANDING TALL.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

To Be Continued....

So many nice things we want to continue, and we must sometimes make a special effort to keep them up. It is worth it to write that letter to an old friend when we just haven't the time without pushing aside some playing of our own. It is worth it to keep trying just that bit longer with the craft project that seems to be fighting coming together. The sustained contact and the finished product reward our efforts and ego, and may grace our day with a smile or caring reply.

For us to continue is more often taken for granted until seriously challenged, but it isn't a given for anyone. You have to choose to continue to get to the best endings.

I'm now taking a series of rabies shots which have a schedule of their own. I'm not enjoying the change in my summer plans but not to continue myself is too high a risk to weigh against the discomfort they bring. I was told these are soo much better than the old series, that the pains and fevers reported from people in my childhood really don't compare to the modernized version. Happily, this is true; although they aren't painless or without some reaction these are a lot less than I saw in others or heard about in the past. Since the virus IS FATAL in humans once its symptoms begin, the real option is DO THE SHOTS. They are expensive, yes; but so is a funeral. Any possible contact is not to be taken lightly.

I was in the backyard about 4:30 one afternoon and a fox ran at me from under the car. Fortunately, I had a bucket in my hand, which I managed to keep between me and the animal. I even got a few good blows, but it kept attacking. I called for help and then when it was stunned, I ran to the back door and got inside. My son-in-law shot it while it raced to and fro in the same area. Thank God for solid buckets, quick prompts from Him, and the good development of good gifts by Tom. He does handle beautifully situations that would throw a lot of people. We washed down the back of my bucket and the place the fox had lain with clorox water to help disinfect these sustained contact places. I had gotten a scratch on my hand during the fight and possible saliva spewed on it. While the open scrape may have been from the bucket, it might also have been directly from the fox. When the animal control man confirmed the verdict as positive rabies I tried to talk myself out of quite believing the danger I was in. Finally though, a small jolt got through to me. I had better take the advice I would have given others. Don't avoid the necessary treatment, don't presume on divine interference and protection when I had so much help and grace dealing with the nasty animal. This is a do unto self as to others situation.

So I decided to eat a bit of humble pie, to obey the reasonable recommendation and to submit to the series of shots. So, a sometimes creaky, cranky grandma, I continue thanking God for my blessings and will make a renewed effort to just plain continue.

Thank you, God, for grace by the bucketful!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

God's Kingly Son

One day in a little town called Bethlehem,
God gave to the world His only Son.
Now there are those who are afraid to admit
God would send to earth His only Son
without benefit of all the clothes and things
a king would wear from his head to his toes.
But they are blind and will forever be,
unless they learn from you and me.
His kingdom was the world
and its people His subjects bold!
The earth His carpet for His feet.
As He walked among His subjects,
the carpet would unfold.
The sky of blue and fluffy white clouds
were His cloak, soft as down.
His jewels were the dew
that sparkled in the morning sun,
more than there are kernels in the fields of corn,
if you count them one by one.
The shining sun was His crown,
although, like gold from the earth,
it looked quite cold.
Yet upon the earth its rays warm us all
from the largest to the small.
Of all the treasures to be found
none shines brighter than His crown.
No finer things could God bestow on His Son,
for He loved Him so.
There are no material things
than for God to give us His Son, Our King!
And so this day I hope to bring the word from God;
Our Lord Jesus Christ was really our King!
By J. Ronkovitz

A poem sent to me by a friend.

"God alone is enough; he who has God lacks nothing." - St Theresa of Avila

Monday, July 03, 2006

What to say ,,,,

I find more and more often the old practiced speech patterns don't seem to cover the moment or situation at hand. Should we still say out loud "God bless you" at a sneeze? Some of the shocked looks of people in public say to me they have no idea why the strange person is blessing them over a sneeze, although most in my recent experience still seem pleased by it.

I remember the confidence in Grandmother's proclamation that getting social expertise by having the right responses would give us life-long benefits. We weren't to judge others by not giving such a blessing on ANY basis. If it didn't "set and stay" on someone it would generally make our neighborhood and town a better community for having said it. This was more than politeness; it was how we expressed concern, and how we made our world better.

She was happy when we got to the point we no longer had to be prompted, when we did such niceties spontaneously. We were happy because she was happy. We took her lessons in and the idea that now we were set to get along with others well for the rest of our lives.

So many things have shifted and stretched since then that the confidence she had in simply memorized kind customs may not always be correct. Her path probably isn't being passed forward in any of the branches of our family tree. Not as she would have taught them anyway. There is a need for new ways to express ourselves to deal with society today. Things have changed so fast that I am having to learn another round of proper terms or phrases rather than my teaching the old ways that always worked before.

I want to seed my children and children's children with the best of their heritage, with faith, hospitality and kindness, but that now has to balance with 'don't speak to strangers' which is necessary today more than ever. A hefty prayer and maybe a karate class seem like better advice today for them.

We are a part of the community of life around us, and that means the teaching of 'wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove' is still right to me to hold up for them. Certainly we must be more cautious, more discerning, more ready with how to handle the possible IFs we might meet. We also need to think through the old lessons keeping the gems and gain, while using a keener eye on what we do, say and why we are doing it.

I intend to keep on blessing people who sneeze, silently for the most part, and praying for them quickly for their realer needs, too.

The God that blesses is always the same

Getting Started

My folks think I need a new letterbox so they can catch up with my floating thoughts. so, here we go!