Words 2010-12

Thursday, 12.20.12

SrMA122012-9aWhat joy to find a packet from Sister in the mailbox today!  She sent lots of items she handcrafted herself.  What thoughtfulness!  What treasures!

Jesus: The Word was made flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory… as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

We’re so blessed!


Saturday, 12.15.12

Oh, yes!  We’re in business again, thanks to Mary Comfort’s care package received in the mail today!

Steven contacted Mary at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit early this week; and she right away, through the Father Solanus Guild, fulfilled our request for more relic badges and prayer leaflets.

We can hardly wait to share our stories of Father Casey with others, as we’re praying for his beatification to happen in our lifetime.


Thursday, 12.13.12

Have you ever needed to look back at the church calendar, as I did today at 2009?  Well, here’s a really helpful site for the general Roman calendar of the Catholic Church (and more).

Links of interest…  Romcal /  Universalis


Tuesday, 12.11.12

Steven and I drove to Our Lady of Corpus Christi for their 7 P.M. Miraculous Medal of Mary novena hour, and it was amazing.  Afterwards, Father Jim invited us to the gift shop (book store), which is run by Mona Biberstein.  There we met Linda and Jesse, Sam and Ning’s neighbors, parishioners at St. Paul’s.  Small world.  Anyway, the bookstore has lots of great items: CDs, DVDs, books, medals, prayer cards (priced at fifty cents), and so much more.  Like, wow!  Steven bought two movies: For Greater Glory and St. Anthony: The miracle worker of Padua.

OLCC121112 -14     OLCC121112-67     OLCC121112-71


Monday, 12.3.12

MB12312-1Wow!  Mother Bernadette sent me a lovely chaplet with the prayers.  How did she know I’ve been ruminating a post on
St. Michael for almost two years?

If this doesn’t get me microwaving, I don’t know what will, although the next post on my to-do list will focus on Father Ralph’s healing service at Stella Maris (9.15.12).  Finally.


Thursday, 11.1.12

Woohoo!  I received another lovely letter and more prayer cards from Mother Bernadette, Prioress at the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia.

What a joy to hear that Sister Marie Anne, now ninety-one, receives such excellent care from two Sister-nurses within their cloistered community!  She’s an absolute treasure!

If you haven’t visited their website, you’re missing out!


Thursday, 10.25.12

Steven drove Father Xaviour, Carlos (Brother Knight and dear friend), and me to the Clergy & Religious Appreciation Banquet in Corpus Christi.  What fun we had to and from the Omni Bayfront.  We talked nonstop!

Once there, Jay, St. Joseph’s nine o’clock music director, joined us.

The most enjoyable part of the evening wasn’t the food or the guest speaker, Mauricio Kuri, who portrayed “Joselito” in For Greater Glory, but the company at our table, including four SOLT priests, among whom was Father Jim Kelleher, Chapel Director, Our Lady of Corpus Christi.


What a phenomenal first time for Steven and me, sandwiched between Father Jim on Steven’s left and Father Xaviour, our beloved parish priest, on my right.

Oh, and the icing on the decadent chocolate cake?  An open invitation to OLCC chapel, so I can take photos.

I can hardly wait!


Saturday, 10.20.12

Oh, happy day!  I received a lovely letter from Mother Bernadette at the Carmelite Monastery in Australia, and she included two prayer cards: one of St. Thérèse and one of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906).  Both are now part of my shared treasure trove.


Friday, 10.19.12

Today Steven brought home a prayer card from Sam, who told him the Legion of Mary at St. Paul’s has begun praying the Magnalite Catholic Rosary for America.

Thanks for sharing, Sam!




Monday, 10.8.12

Seven-twelve a.m.  Steven opened the door to the vehicle to leave for work, and he scanned the garage as he always does, making sure everything was in place.

“Hmm, what’s that?” he stated in such a way that I immediately reacted because he was looking at the bottom middle shelf not quite past the treadmill.

“A mouse?”


“A rat?”

“No,” Steven replied in a low, inquisitive tone before pausing long enough to confirm his suspicions.  “A snake skin.”  Then he moved forward, bent down to get the evidence, and firmly tugged to loosen the skin from the bottom shelf next to the rocker.

“Um, excuse me?!!  The snake you saw months back in the garden liked the place sooo much that it decided to shed its skin on the lowest shelf next to where I walk on the treadmill every day?!!”

“Yes, but it’s just the skin.”

“Um, YE-ah!?!  But I’ve been out there every DAY?  And— oh, my, gosh!” I exclaimed as my imagination suddenly considered the likelihood of both the snake and me being in the garage at the same time.

Steven took out his tape measure.  “Four-and-a-half feet,” he said precisely, “without the rattles.”

“How long do you think it’s been there?”

“I have no idea.  Maybe last night or maybe a couple of weeks.  There’s no telling.”

Whoa!  I was really, really, really freaking out!  I still have shivers running up and down my spine because we shared the same space!

“Do I leave it here, or do I throw it away?” Steven asked, knowing full well what I’d say.

“No, no, no!  Don’t leave it there!”  I shuddered.  “I don’t want to have to step where it’s been!  I’ll never walk out here without any shoes!”

Steven suppressed his laughter but still managed a chuckle.  He picked up the skin, wrapped it in paper, and walked over to the trash receptacle as I stood, Coolpix in hand, trying hard to contain my freaking-out dramarama dance on the third step.


Oy, oy, oy!  Too close for comfort, though now clues here and there from the previous months make total sense.

First, the odd-looking scat on the steps from the garage up to the kitchen entrance some months back.  Where had those things come from?  Steven was baffled by the type of animal that could’ve left those, those strange, almost permanently enmeshed clumps.  Even he didn’t have a name for them.

How I struggled to remove the rooted clumps from the carpet edges along the inner wall!  The vacuum cleaner was totally useless, so I had to pry the clumps off with a lot of determination, time, and effort using paper towels and wipes.

Off and on, too, I found the Miracle-Gro spoon and other such objects on the floor by the shelves opposite the stairs and the treadmill.  Initially, I’d thought that Steven might’ve accidentally knocked them down when he’d gone in and out of the garage while working on the back porch.  But the gardening products are up on the higher shelves and Steven only worked on weekends, which didn’t explain why the items were on the floor almost daily.

What could be it?  There were no holes or entrances through which a critter could enter.  Or so Steven kept telling me.

Then I dared to pose the question.  “You don’t think that snake you came across while weedwacking the garden decided to come in here, do you?” I asked, eyebrows raised, eyes wide open.

“Nah, what would a snake want from inside the garage?”  Translation: You’re so silly!

Hmm, okay.  I’ll think on it some more. 

Then, out of the blue two weeks ago, my inner voice cautioned me to be careful about going down to the garage to exercise!  The strange thing is that my mind immediately conjured up a snake.

What if, when you lift the end of the treadmill to pull it back in place after exercising, a snake bites you?!!  You really need to be more careful!  Look underneath and all around first!

Horrors!  I really scared myself, but I quickly forgot.  Only now I know better.  Now I can say that we’ve dealt with rats, mice, opossums, raccoons, and more.  And I’ve got the photos, too.  B-b-but s-s-snakes?!!

Oh, my, gosh!  Oh, my, gosh!  Oh, my, gosh!  The reality of the situation has me in squawking chicken mode!

Puawkkk-PUAWKK, puawkkk-PUAWKK, puawkk-PUAAAWWWK!!!

So, this means that I need to remember to close the door leading out to the garage every single time, even when I go out there briefly, because— yes-s-s— it most definitely is possible for a snake to slither up— or down— into the house… which reminds me of another story!

Oh, my, gosh!  I should never ever ever walk into the garage in the dark as I’ve done a number of times!

Maybe the next time, as happened on Thursday and Friday of last week, I should listen to my inner voice when it tells me: Maybe you shouldn’t go out there today.

For now, though, I just need to calm down, relax, and— sigh— have a plan for when I go exercise again this afternoon because my heart health trumps the snake.

Anyway, Steven emailed with a plan of his own for our unwelcome guest.

There’s one product that has been approved by the EPA as a repellent for snakes.  Dr. T’s Nature Products, Snake-A-Way.  It is 91% effective against rattlers according to independent testing.  I’ll stop by Ace on the way home and get some to sprinkle in the garage this afternoon.

There are very few snakes that are aggressive.  The rattlesnake is not one of them.  I can move the treadmill inside, however.

My response?

Yes.  Please do sprinkle the product in the garage.

Snakes are good against mice and rats, so they need to stay.  They just need to stay away from me, especially if I’m outdoors.  Just thinking about them makes me shudder.  It’s, like, my worst nightmare, next to stepping wherever rats and mice have been.

And, yeah.  I do, do, do check the ground for snakes every time I go out to water the plants.  Every time.


Monday, 10.1.12

Ah, yes, finally.  The last three relic chaplets were finally mailed today, but what’s amazing is that all twelve St. Anthony relics were promised for gifting within eight days of their arrival.





Saturday, 9.29.12

I went for the mail across the street, and— lo and behold— I had a card from Sister.

Wow!  Again she knocked my socks off.

Sister was very happy that her sister and her brother-in-law were visiting for the first time in five years, but imagine my surprise at receiving not only two lovely notes— one from each sister— but also a teeny-tiny zipped baggie with five relics!  In perfect time for St. Thérèse’s feast day, October 1st!

I was— am— sooo filled with joyful gratitude!


Thursday, 9.13.12

This morning I received another email from the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM) and discovered a very interesting tidbit from Father Luke.

As a member of the Association, you have the opportunity to learn more about Mary and our Catholic faith.  We partner with Catholic Home Study Service [CHSS] to promote knowledge of our faith tradition.  I invite you to take all [nine] courses of study, which includes “Christ’s Mother and Ours.”  The courses are free and will help deepen your Catholic faith.

If you’re interested, membership in the Association of the Miraculous Medal is free.


Monday, 9.3.12

Last Monday our friend, Cammie, emailed to tell us about Holy Cross Church in Corpus Christi.  She and her mom attended Sunday Mass there for the first time and loved it.

Of course, we had to see for ourselves; so we attended Mass there yesterday.

What a treasure trove!  What a beautiful statue of the Holy Infant on the altar!  What an energized church community!

Additionally, Father Mathias told me that Holy Cross Church was funded by
St. Katharine Drexel herself and opened in 1914.  Wow!


Saturday, 9.1.12

Amazing.  As of yesterday, all the St. Anthony relics I received from Father Primo Thursday of last week have homes.  Of course, I still need to bead the chaplets before giving them away; but they went quicker than the last time!

And today I received another batch of relic badges and prayer leaflets from Mary Comfort at the Father Casey Guild in Detroit, so I’m pretty sure they’ll all be gone in no time as well.  Anything to further the cause!


Thursday, 8.23.12

What began as a truly slow day dripping molasses for hours picked up steam around noon with perfectly timed surprises.

Prayer booklet

Not only did I serendipitously find a little prayer book, Favorite Patron Saints (The Leaflet Missal Company, n. d.) with my inked 11.3.95 inside the front cover and a note with the names of four requesting prayer (1991), but also a folded receipt marking St. Monica’s prayers.

Oh, happy day!  What a discovery!

Somehow this gold nugget had been hiding behind pamphlets and leaflets in my trusty wooden box filled with prayer cards, marbles, and other such items here on my workspace all this time.  Unseen.  As in, who knows for how long?

St. Monica’s feast day is August 27, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

And, of course, I’ll be adding prayers from the booklet to other posts as well.

Relics and more

And, oh, my gosh!  I received a packet from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates!  Wow!  Within eight days, too!

I’d requested more St. Anthony relics for the chaplets I want to bead, namely Joseph’s.  He’s the extraordinary young man we met at the Solanus Casey Center (Detroit, 4.28.12) who, as of 8.19, has begun his journey with the Franciscan Capuchin Order.  But others are on my chaplets list, too; so I’m going to be busy, busier, busiest very soon.  Works for me!


Father Primo also included a St. Clare prayer card, which was quite timely.  You see, I found a lovely prayer to St. Rita in today’s booklet; so I wanted one for St. Clare as well, being that they’re both featured in the same post, which leads me to say “Isn’t God grand?  He knew exactly what I needed.  What a tremendous pick-me-up he gifted me with today!”

Thank you, Father Primo!!!

Contact information

If you’d like to receive prayer cards, leaflets, and pamphlets— or request a third-class St. Anthony relic— contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.


Saturday, 8.4.12

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I last received the mailing on Sts. Monica and Jude from Franciscan Mission Associates, but it’s true.  This time around, the St. Jude leaflet
(R-36) has a different cover and includes prayers “for peace” and “to share Christ with others;” so I’ve added them to my St. Monica post.


Tuesday, 7.31.12

Talk about being in squawking chicken mode this afternoon!

Today visitors most likely found broken links on two popular posts: “St. Jude novena” and “St. Anthony Claret.”  What a disappointment to discover, as I did, that the web links to the Dominican St. Jude Shrine were broken.  So I immediately went into octopus mode— scrambling to find the new site— all to no avail even after a lot of online searches.

Since I couldn’t replace the broken links with viable ones to the new site, if any, I had no choice but to delete those “links of interest.”

Still, to be totally without access to one of my most favorite sites was unbearable.  I searched some more, recalling that Bob Dixon had told me months ago that a new site was in the works.  Yet the only redirection (www.saintofstjude.com) was a blank page, although it later opened to web results.

Feeling oh so sad about the broken connection, I typed Dominican Shrine of St. Jude into my blog’s search box to locate all the posts and pages with the links to be deleted.

“The pain!  The pain!” to quote Dr. Smith from Lost in Space.

Finally, I got to the “Words to ponder” page, since the last two links to the shrine’s site were in an entry from last year.  I clicked on Father Robert’s Daily Inspiration, and— oh, my, gosh— the link wasn’t broken!

The words were linked to the Dominican’s new site!  The one I’d searched for endlessly.  The one that had eluded me despite the search engine terms I’d typed in way too many online searches to find.

How?  When?  It didn’t make sense!

I’d come to the last link only to find that somehow, miraculously, the words I’d typed September 13, 2011, were linked to the Dominican’s new website.  How cool was that?!

I turned to Steven and grinned.  “I think St. Jude didn’t want me to lose the connection!”

Right away I hyperlinked the newly typed terms below and updated the “links of interest” for both posts.

Oh, oh, oh.  And do you know why the redirection to the new website didn’t work?

Three letters.

The new address doesn’t have www in its URL, so the dilemma was an easy fix with that minor deletion.  Oh, happy day!


Friday, 7.27.12

This morning a comment awaited me in response to my “Repeated prayers” post.

All religions have given us guidance that we should pray before God and God shall remove our difficulties and shall solve our problems.  There is also a direction that God helps those who help themselves.  It is also believed that when we conduct a prayer from the core of our heart, God listens to our prayer and He himself solves our problems.  That is the reason, most of us only pray and we do not work on the problem before us.  We start believing that God Himself would solve our problem.  Here they forget that God helps those who help themselves.  Therefore, people who have been left poor must start believing that they shall have to put in more labor and only then they shall be able to complete the work successfully.  Only prayers and no work at all would not work here on this earth.  We must further accept that God is listening to us and therefore, we should pray for a cause only once and the same prayer should not be conducted time and again till our cause is fulfilled.  God does not forget our prayer and therefore, we should conduct prayer for a cause only once and then wait for the result and we should never repeat the prayer for the same cause of action.  Let the people take up this question and come forward with suitable answer for guidance to all (6:34 A.M.; Dalip Singh Wasan, Advocate; 101-C Vikas Colony, Patiala-Punjab-India-147003).

Since I couldn’t satisfy my need to know more about the source, I shared with Steven who quickly responded.

If you go to Google maps and search on Vikas Colony, Punjab India, you’ll find that it is a one-block street in a small town in northwest India, halfway between Pakistan and Nepal.

I read his message as, “Pray once, work often.”  I believe he is making the point that there are those who pray long and often but do nothing to help God help them and simply wait passively for God to do it all.  It’s a valid point, and I would post his message.  There might be some very interesting dialog started.  Also note his comment about the poor who are told to work hard (but are not encouraged to pray for God’s help).  Implied is that work without prayer may be fruitless as well.

There’s really a lesson here for the USA, and this rather gentle admonishment from the other side of the world should be taken to heart.

This is really neat stuff,  and we have to recognize that going global means phrases and viewpoints that are difficult to comprehend.  But this is one of God’s children letting us know how he believes God means for us to receive His word.

What rings true for me is that I grew up hearing momisms in support of Dalip Singh Wassan’s comment.  Among them are my two faves: “God helps those who help themselves;” and “No one gives anyone something for nothing, so work hard for everything you want in life.”

Mom worked hard in her lifetime, and she was very generous, too.  Grandmother died when mom was nine, so she and her five siblings were doled out among relatives willing to take them in.  That meant having to comply with tough rules and expectations from those who weren’t all that keen on providing for additional family members.

Because of this she believed that “you never know what can happen in life, so you need to be prepared to fend for yourself.”  Mom instilled in us a very strong work ethic that I defend as meticulous.  Not perfectMeticulous.  So, yes.  Absolutely.  I second Steven’s comments regarding Dalip Singh Wassan’s message today.

Therefore, I laughingly, resoundingly proclaim that I most certainly do bust my buns!  Still.  And I expect the same from others.  As I told my students, “I buy no excuses.”  And they, in turn, set high standards for themselves, gratefully, lovingly, with a good sense of self about a job well done.


Thursday, 7.26.12

There’s something about the magic of three’s.  At least for me.

When I was five or six years old, I had an accident while riding the bike at my great-aunt’s house.  Twice, the jeans bottom on my left ankle snagged as my cousin, Nelda, gave me a ride; and, twice, I said nothing ’cause I was having too much fun.  But the third time I really got hurt and still have two very visible scars to show for my fun ride that morning.

Of course, Tía Queta frantically rushed out of the house when she saw us fall.  We gave her quite a scare, she said, when she saw my ankle bone through the blood and dirt.

When I told her what’d happened, she taught me the lesson of a lifetime.

“When something bad comes close to happening twice, tell someone right away so that it doesn’t happen for real the third time.”

I arrived at my three’s theory then and there.  And I’ve subsequently passed it along to everyone, my students, especially, as Landin’s Magic of Three’s.

With this in mind, Steven’s been emailing some really insightful nuggets.

“Good enough to share,” I told him.  “But would you be willing to put yourself out there for everyone to read about?”

Absolutely!  Hopefully, they will hit someone else in the soft spot as well.

So, after painstakingly ruminating the implications and all else involved, I republished the page that I’d temporarily placed into trash last night and finally arrived at a title that suits me.

Thanks to the magic of three’s, “Steven’s looking-glass”— a three-word title— combines his looking-glass idea with mine to differentiate it from my own pages.

Check it out for yourself and see what you think.


Tuesday, 7.24.12

Sunday after Mass at St. Joseph’s, we met a lovely couple, Alise and Richard, from West, TX.  In talking about building community within God’s kingdom, Richard told us that his mom participated in the first ACTS retreat in Selma, TX and subsequently introduced the mission at their present church.  Wow!

Then, today, Steven forwarded an email from the ACTS Missions headquarters at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX.

Everyone worldwide is invited to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ACTS by praying a novena from September 23 through October 1, 2012.  (The first ACTS retreat began on July 23, 1987.)  Nine churches in and around San Antonio are hosting the daily novena Masses at 7 P.M.  The novena prayers end on the feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patron saint of ACTS and all Catholic missions.

We pray for the intercession of St. Thérèse to help ACTS to continue to grow and spread throughout the world in the next 25 years, as a major force in the “New Evangelization” started by Pope John Paul II.  (His visit to San Antonio coincided with the first ACTS retreat!)…  You may contact ACTS Missions at 1-210-341-1077 as we continue to formulate plans, or just wait for us to post additional information on the ACTS Missions Website (ACTS – SAVE THE DATE email, July 24, 2012).

Additionally, I found some interesting handouts on the table in the church foyer; so, of course, I shared with Alise and took some to post here and to give to others not at SJC.



Thursday, 7.19.12

A couple of surprises this week: Today, a Padre Pio card from Franciscan Mission Associates; yesterday, a letter from Padre Carmelo Fonseca.

Carmelo and I met July 1966 when we spring chickens were part of the LAMP program in Matamoros, MX.  He (a seminarian at the time) and I hadn’t corresponded or seen each other since then, so finally connecting with him was an exhilarating experience!  Mind you, I still have the three beautiful blue doilies that his sister, Rosa, crocheted for me!

Last week, too, I received a couple of unexpected surprises: First, a letter from Sister’s Prioress at the Carmelite Monastery in Australia.  She sent some lovely cards, which I’ll be adding to the “prayer cards” page.  Second, an email from Joseph, our charismatic guide at the Solanus Casey Center.  He’s been accepted into the Capuchin Order, so he begins his journey on August 19th!  We are sooo very happy for him and his family.


Monday, 7.2.12

Wow!  Again, another treasure trove received from Sister in Australia.  Like, oh, my, gosh to the moon! 

I couldn’t get over the prayer booklet dating back to 1970, in perfect time for St. Teresa of Avila’s being declared a Doctor of the Church.  Oh, my, my, my.

I’ll just have to share all my goodies.


Saturday, 6.30.12

Well, it finally happened.  Steven got ahold of David Castillo at Most Precious Blood Church, and he invited us over… to view the new statues at the St. Jude Shrine and the two in church, pray the rosary before Mass at five-thirty, and enjoy the potluck dinner with Father Varghese and the lectors.

While at the shrine, I was pleased to meet Deacon Sebastian who smilingly gave me not only a church bulletin, since I’d forgotten to get one after Mass, but also some Patroness of the Americas prayer cards.  He looked for some with Our Lady of Guadalupe but found none.  Not to worry.  On our way to the parish hall for dinner, Father Varghese came to the rescue and gave me some from the office.  Happy day ’cause this means I get to share with others.


Father Varghese originates from Mylapore, which is just seven miles from where Father Xaviour, our parish priest, is from.  What great company he was sitting across from us at dinner.   Then again, everyone we met was so gracious that we felt very much at home.

Lastly, David drove us to meet Wil, who created not just my stone cross, but more than a thousand to gift to others.

We were in Hog’s Heaven.  Oink, oink.  Snort.


Thursday, 6.28.12

We’ve now viewed all three DVDs that Steven ordered from the Father Solanus Guild, and we were moved to tears each time.

Father Casey’s sweet thoughtfulness came through so naturally.  He was so very kind and attentive to everyone.

Father Casey is featured in the Knights of Columbus magazine as the “Catholic man of the month” (Columbia, July 2012, p. 5).  Additionally, the Father Solanus Guild will host a nine-day novena, July 23-31, ending with a special Mass on July 31, the 55th anniversary of his death.


Wednesday, 6.20.12

Round and round I go, and I still haven’t gotten to posting about our trip up north.  So many photos!  So many beautiful sights!

And the sacred spaces?  Oh!

I keep going off on tangents, piling more on my lunch tray in life; but I’ll get to my percolating posts.  Really.


Tuesday, 6.19.12

Today we received some pretty special unexpected favors: tomatoes from our friend, Betty, who grew them in her garden; a letter that Sam translated into Tagalog for our new acquaintance in the Philippines; and the package from the Father Casey Guild.  Happy day!!!


Wednesday, 6.13.12

What a delightful surprise to receive a phone call from Mary at the Father Casey Guild this morning about the items Steven ordered!  She’ll be including more relic badges with their accompanying prayer cards for us to give to others.  Hooray!


Tuesday, 6.5.12

I just love to get mail, don’t you?

Today I received a beautiful card from Father Charles Bourchard, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Friars, regarding our visit to the St. Jude Shrine in Chicago.  Totally unexpected, truly special, and very memorable indeed.

I also received a lovely letter from Sister in Australia.  Naturally, I devoured everything, savoring each item before spending time with the next one.  A heartfelt card with a poem, a two-sided image of Jesus, two laminated cards showing St. Thérèse and her prayers, and— oh, my, gosh— be still my heart!

A second-class relic of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).  Amazing!  I’m so blessed because she’s my mentor.

And, last but not least, we received a card from Sam and the Lovely Ning’s brand-new grandson in Hawaii.  Yes.  A card he wrote, thanks to his beautiful mommy.  With photos, no less.  What joy!  Children are the promise of hope, and this child is sooo sweet!  A magnificent miracle!


Monday, 6.4.12

What?  June already?  But I haven’t even caught my breath, much less written all the posts that have been in the works for the past two or three months!

We’ve been going and going and going.  A whirlwind that hasn’t let up.  Duracells, Timex watches, and the Energizer Bunny.  Gotta give ’em equal time.

This past weekend, we were at Montserrat in Lake Dallas with our friends, Mary Ellen and Steve.  What a glorious silent retreat!  Our first.

Of course, I took photos of the grounds and the chapel.  And, oh, the memories.  I’m still there.


Monday, 5.28.12

Don’t you just love it when you just happen to be at the right place at the right time and you bump into people you haven’t seen in ages?

This past weekend we were in Brownsville again, and both places we went to for staples had an added bonus.  A longtime family friend and former co-worker, Don Yanske, and his friend, Danny, greeted us joyously in the cold cuts section at Walmart.  Then, as we looked for milk at HEB, there was my cousin, Jerry, with his lovely wife, Lucy.

What a perfect prelude to the following day’s time spent at OLG where we once again had time to visit briefly with Henry, Eduardo, Sister Armida, and Father Acosta.

I love God’s treasures in secret— though sometimes not so secret-— places!


Monday, 5.21.12

This past weekend, we attended Saturday evening Mass at one of my favorite churches of all time: Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brownsville, TX.  What a heartfelt connection!

We arrived forty-five minutes early, so I could bask in the beauty of the church where I was baptized.  What a blessing to see families gathered for baptisms and a wedding!  What joy to know that Father Acosta is still there!  Even the young sacristan, Eduardo Nieto, still remembered me after all these years.

I felt so at home that I didn’t want to leave!

Still, it was good to be back here, or I wouldn’t have known that Bob Dixon from the Dominican Shrine in Chicago had written.  He is such a joy to communicate with!


Thursday, 5.3.12

Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play….  

Yesterday Loren showed us some of the bison babies born these past two weeks.  Eleven so far.  They’re sooo cute!  More are expected, too.  Then early this morning we left Baldwin for Minneapolis so we could fly back to the heart of TX.  With nearly 1500 digital photos and a whole lot of memories that’ll be shared as soon as I get some rest.

Loren did sing to us, by the way.  Beautiful voice.

We had a terrific time!




Wednesday, 5.2.12

We managed to escape hail, thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes before getting to Baldwin last night; but the thunderstorm caught up to us— finally— when we were safely tucked in for the night.

Today we’ll spend the day with Loren, Dotty, and the five bison babies they can hardly wait to show us.  What fun that will be!

Then we’ll head back to TX early tomorrow.

What a glorious adventure we’ve had!  And, oh, the photos!


Tuesday, 5.1.12

Wow!  We’re back where we started, just about.

Baldwin, WI. 

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Loren and Dotty Smeester who co-own the Silver Bison Ranch.  They have five new bison babies to show us and lots of great stories to share, and I can hardly wait to see them!

For sure I’ll be adding to my thirteen-hundred plus photos, too.

And, yes, we had a wonderful time at the St. Joseph’s Indian School today.


Monday, 4.30.12

I’m sitting at the AmericInn in Chamberlain, SD at the moment.  We arrived not quite an hour ago and are eagerly anticipating our tour of the St. Joseph’s Indian School tomorrow.

Yesterday’s visit to St. Pius V on Ashland Avenue in Chicago was phenomenal.  I had no idea that St. Jude’s right forearm is encased at the shrine!

Think of it!  A first-class relic! 



We thoroughly enjoyed 9:15 A.M. Spanish Mass and took LOTS of photos.  915 so far, in fact.

“That’s going to require lots of editing time,” Steven said.

Um, yes.  And I’ve been mentally drafting my post titles in the meantime.


Saturday, 4.28.12

Today we visited the Father Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.  Beyond awesome.  Truly memorable.  Best yet, we experienced a very special pilgrimage, thanks to Joseph, our young guide, whose lovely sister also works at the Center.  And we met a sweet young man, Wilson, and his Uncle Jeff, too.  I took LOTS of photos and recorded Joseph’s talk.


Tomorrow we’ll attend Mass at St. Pius V where the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus is housed in Chicago.  I can hardly wait to visit with the Holy Infant again.  Then we’ll head to the National Shrine of St. Jude that’s managed by the Claretians.  Happy day redux!


Friday, 4.20.12

Last month, Steven and I participated in separate ACTS retreats and became part of a larger family through St. Paul the Apostle Church.  Daily, my thoughts and prayers are with this wonderful group as each member builds community through service at home, at church, and on the job.  We are truly blessed!

Thank you, Lord, for the brothers and sisters you have given to me.  May we build each other up in faith, in hope, and in your love and compassion! (the Word among us, April 8-May 31, 2012, p. 39).


Wednesday, 4.11.12

Today I received a lovely Easter card from Sister in Australia.  How wonderful to hear from her!  As always, she included an assortment of gifts: a quote by Edith Stein, a lovely ribbon bookmark, and— be still my heart— a vintage postcard of an etched St. Teresa of Avila contemplating the cross she’s holding as she sits at her desk!

There’s no way for Sister to have known that I’ve collected postcards since I was a kid!   What a delightful surprise!


Sunday, 4.8.12

We spent part of the day with Mary Ellen and Steve this Easter.  My treats included taking photos of the icons that Mary Ellen has so beautifully created and the third-class relic she has of Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), the foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.



Tuesday, 3.6.12

Again, two unexpected surprises: a lovely letter from Father Ugo Sartorio, director general of Messenger to which I subscribe; and another from Father Primo.

The first was in reference to a letter/request I’d mailed late December; the second, an invitation to submit prayer requests, since Father Primo and forty others will soon make a pilgrimage to Italy and celebrate Mass at St. Anthony’s basilica.

This means, of course, that I now have two more St. Anthony prayer cards to add to my stash.


Monday, 3.5.12

Wow!  First, I received a telephone call from the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago in regard to an email I sent last week.  How wonderful to touch base with a place I carry so fervently in my heart.  And how extraordinary to meet someone who knows Father Robert firsthand.

When Steven and I visit in April, I hope to take lots of photos to add to my January 5, 2004 memories of the shrine.

Then, a little later in the day?

Wow redux!  I found an Anthonian treasure trove waiting for me in the mailbox.  Two amazing surprises in one day?!!

Unbelievable.  My Chicken Little heart almost burst!!!


Saturday, 3.3.12

My UH buddy, Paty, and her longtime friend, Becky, dropped by for an impromptu visit on their way back to Brownsville from the Schoenstatt shrine.

Neither had a clue that Port Aransas was even here so imagine their delight at being asked, “Would you like a tour of the place?”

And, of course, that included taking a peek at the Chapel on the Dunes.


Saturday, 2.11.12

It’s the little things that make me smile.  For instance, as I added St. Peregrine’s widget and edited some posts today, I looked at the St. Joseph widget and thought, I need another photo of St. Joseph.  Then a little while ago, guess what?

I received a St. Joseph prayer card from Franciscan Mission Associates.  Oh, happy day!

This afternoon’s mail also brought another lovely letter from my friend, Dora, who works with the Brownsville school district.  She shared some sad news and enclosed a remembrance card for a teacher— a mutual acquaintance— who died recently.

Nora was such a sweet, lively person!  I’m quite sure she’ll be missed a lot.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.  For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.  Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.  Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.  And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.  And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance (Gibran, 1923/1976, pp. 80-81).

I’ll be adding both cards to the prayer cards page.


Sunday, 1.22.12

The third time was the charm for sure.  We saw our friend, Ly Vu, at St. Joseph’s.  We exchanged printed prayers and more after Mass.  Ly was very glad to receive the Infant statue from the Oblate gift shop, and I was very happy for the chalk she shared from the Feast of the Epiphany at St. Louis Church in Austin.

Life’s an Easter egg hunt.  Good things happen all around, but it’s up to us to notice.


Saturday, 1.21.12

Oh, glorious day!  Steven and I visited Stella Maris again and spent time visiting with Father Ralph before five o’clock Mass.  My wish came true when Father Ralph let me hold St. Peregrine’s first-class relic so I could pray for Olivia.


Saturday, 1.14.12

Today’s mail brought two letters, quick responses to my letters sent before New Year’s Eve, 2011.  I was thrilled over the moon, as in joyfully moved to tears, to hear from both Sister at the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Goonellabah, Australia and Father Primo, Franciscan Mission Associates director.  What an immense blessing!


Wednesday, 12.7.11

Thanks ever so much, Sam, for St. Anselm’s Desire for the vision of God handout that you gave me after Mass this evening!  I looked online for the link and added it to my “Picturing God” post.

You’re a priceless treasure, Sam.  Everything you touch is golden.  Just like your flourishing mums from October 22.  I guess your ten green thumbs transcend distance and time. 


Wednesday, 11.16.11

Yesterday I lit the St. Anthony candle, and things started to feel good— like something special was going to happen— so this morning I lit the candle again; and, before long, I felt energized.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to go off on sooo many tangents that I’ve worked on everything except the post on St. Thérèse.  But today I actually made some progress.  Until I went in search of photos for the post.

One thing led to another and then— oh, my, gosh— I found the ones I’d taken at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, January 5, 2004!

The photos hadn’t been a figment of my imagination after all.  I really had taken them.  I was so excited that I was
laughing and crying at the same time.

How wonderful to finally add them to my “St. Anthony Claret” post.


Tuesday, 11.15.11

This morning I came across the Basilica of Saint Mary’s beautiful scriptural stations of the cross.  Oh, my.


Monday, 11.14.11

The Lovely Ning sent me an interesting article from “dear Padre” (Hamrogue, 2011) that relates beautifully to one’s mindset while praying the rosary.

Don’t be discouraged if your thoughts wander all over the place.  That’s part of the secret of the rosary: It opens your deeper self to you and to God.  The important thing is to want to pray, to walk with Mary, to honor and love Jesus.

Be faithful.  Keep praying.  It’s shaping you and guiding you even when what you feel is nothing and what you think is anything and everything.


Thursday, 11.3.11

The Lovely Ning outdid herself again; she sent me a really awesome link.

Come, pray the rosary is a true virtual experience that maximizes proactive engagement.

Unlike other rosary sites I’ve visited before, this one is so real and so inclusive that I feel very much a part of the group when I’m there.

Accessibility throughout the day, language settings for either English or Spanish, intentions that can be uploaded in real time, a genuine sense of community, and so much more await us.

Be sure to visit!


Friday, 10.13.11

Oh, my gosh!  What a glorious visit we shared with the gang this past weekend!

Happy 5th anniversary!

Saturday, Junebug and Gary and the Lovely Ning and Sam came over for dinner, so we could celebrate the date when we first met.


October 8, 2006

Why Catholic? was underway for the first time at St. Paul the Apostle in Flour Bluff, so we’d been assigned to meet at Junebug and Gary’s house for the one o’clock Sunday meetings.  Besides the three couples, three others— including Evelio, Gregoria “Goya” Beatty, and Neli-Beli (who joined us the following Sunday)— made up our group.

Of the nine, just one member dropped out halfway through that first semester.  The rest of us completed not only the first but also the second year of the program.

Still close

How the three couples have remained close over the past five years is amazingly incredible.

Steven and I returned to our home parish in May 2008, so we hardly ever spend time with the gang and email very little.

Still, we remain in each other’s thoughts and prayers.

When something special’s going on at St. Paul’s, Sam drops by Steven’s office with a note from the Lovely Ning.  Or one of them emails, which is how we found out about the ACTS retreat Mass last month.  Or Gary calls, as he did for Michael’s confirmation.  But what we count on most are the invitations to the annual pilgrim rosaries.

These anniversary and birthday celebrations are hosted in their respective homes: the first Sunday in May by the Lovely Ning and Sam; in September by Junebug and Gary, although theirs was October 2nd this year.

Of course, these festive gatherings include many familiar faces from St. Paul’s as well as newcomers who tag along with mutual friends, so we never know who’ll be there.

The beauty of it all is that everyone always has a wonderful time; but the draw for Steven and me is all about spending time with the gang, especially Neli-Beli who continues to be an integral part of our very special group.

Special weekend for the girls

So, today, fresh from having shared space with our Why Catholic? forever family, I’m thinking of the women’s ACTS retreat that Junebug and the Lovely Ning will attend beginning this evening and ending with eleven o’clock Mass at St. Paul’s this Sunday.

I wish I could’ve been part of their group, but I’ll do the next best thing.  I’ll be with them in spirit as always, and we’ll be there for Sunday Mass to show our support.

Gotta love ’em! 

And thanks for the beautiful flowers, Sam!

P.S.  October 16, 2011

ACTS retreatants at St. Paul’s…




P.P.S.  October 23, 2011

Thanks for the photos, Sam!




Friday, 9.30.11

Oh, happy day!

Well, actually, the last two Sundays were incredibly enriching.


September 16, our niece (Sue) texted Steven so we decided, on the fly, to leave for Louisiana very early the following morning.

Before turning in for the night, however, Steven looked online for churches in Covington and found three possibilities from which to choose.

Sunday morning, we attended nine o’clock Mass at Most Holy Trinity, since it was closest to where we were staying.  And what an unforgettable experience!

Awesome ambiance.  One vision.  One mission.  Applicable to all.

Everyone we spoke with was truly in synch: extraordinarily welcoming parishioners unfazed by strangers in their midst; the priest, a loving shepherd philosophically attuned to his flock.

Walking back to our vehicle afterwards, Steven and I smilingly agreed that we could easily become part of that church community: Most Holy Trinity not only embraced us but also made us feel we belonged.

Flour Bluff

Then last Saturday morning, after I’d been on the computer for an hour and a half, the Lovely Ning, also an earlier riser that day, emailed at six with an invitation to eleven o’clock Mass at St. Paul’s the following day.

When I told Steven about it, he said, “Sure!”

We love spending time with the gang, so we’re glad whenever we can do it.

Sam, Ning’s hubby; their son, Matthew; and Gary, Junebug’s hubby— all part of our family since October 8, 2006— had been on retreat since Thursday evening, so Father Peter was having a special Mass for the men who’d gone through ACTS that weekend.

The men who filled the seven pews in front of ours were “all pumped up” (Steven’s descriptor), and some of them were in charge of the music.

What an emotionally charged experience! 

I easily went through two tissues, and Steven was so moved that he borrowed one of my wet ones.


And then it dawned on me.

Two Sundays in a row we were summoned by the Holy Infant of Prague to attend Mass at two different churches devoted to him.

It doesn’t get any better than that!


Tuesday, 9.13.11

I began working on the “Prayer cards” page on August 27; and the more I worked on the page, the more I wanted a St. Jude relic.

Heartfelt request

I receive the Daily Inspiration from the Dominicans in Chicago every afternoon, and Father always previews items from the shrine’s gift shop; so that’s how I happened across their St. Jude relics.

But, in as much as I longed to place an order for one, I kept putting it off.  I knew that I’d be renewing the candle for Acacia-Darling before long, so I figured I’d take care of everything all at once.

I decided that this morning would be the day, but I updated the credits on the “prayer cards” page first.  And then I sorted the cards before putting them away in my treasure box.

But why, when the St. Jude card had been among the first to be added to the page, was it still atop the small stack waiting to be scanned and uploaded?

Lost and found

Reaching for St. Jude’s prayer card, I noticed its shininess.

Hmm.  Why is it laminated?

I noticed the small circle in the bottom right-hand corner.

Why is the white dot there?

I couldn’t really make it out, so I looked closer.

Wish come true

Oh, my, gosh!  There’s a tiny square cloth in the circle!  It’s a relic!  How could I have had this in my possession all these years and not noticed until now?

More treasure 

Even though I was certain I’d put the St. Jude card away two weeks before, it’d remained on my computer desk.

But why?  How?

It’s all very odd, but why question it?

I now have a St. Jude relic card, and that’s all that matters.


Monday, 6.6.11

Oh, my, gosh!  I’m in Chicken Little mode.

I checked the church blog stats a bit ago, and the numbers have been rising, rising, rising.

“Father Tito did well yesterday,” I chuckled to Steven.  “Great homily!  Folks who know him must be visiting the blog.”

Then I checked my personal blog: no views today.  Okay, so I know I don’t feed it as often as I do the church blog.  Still, it’s a matter of quality versus quantity.  Sharing thoughts takes time compared to posting photos.

“Let me see what’s new on Father Tito’s blog,” I told Steven.

And that’s when I noticed something incredibly wonderful.

“He added my personal blog to his blogroll.  How great is that!  I’ve got to thank him.”

Okay, okay.  I’m calm now.  That was a very thoughtful gesture.  Like, wow-nice.

Thanks, Padre Tito!


Tuesday, 5.31.11

Today, again, is St. Anthony’s special day; so I decided to share these wonderful links with the gang, Steven, and a longtime buddy.

I love listening to both the hymn and the song so much that I thought they might enjoy them, too.


Saturday, 5.7.11

The Messenger of Saint Anthony came in the mail today.

“Guess what, darling?” I told Steven as I walked in the house.  “This month’s issue has an article on the first USA approved Marian apparition.  It should be an interesting read!”


Thursday, 3.24.11

Sometimes when the ol’ pea brain has too much going on I’m up until three a.m.

Last week, I had a few of those nights; so I reread and read St. Teresa’s book and almost got done with it, too.

Got to page 130 with only nine more to go, but I was really tired.  I knew I’d have to go back and reread ten pages or so ’cause I’d stopped scribbling notes in the margins, and nothing made sense anymore.

I took the book with me to the dentist’s yesterday morning.  Sitting in my favorite spot, I had a tough time quieting the mental noise until Steven went in first and I was alone on the sofa.

There’s something to be said about solitude.  Even if it’s just in littles.

Last week, I was sooo excited to read more of St. Teresa’s book that I couldn’t wait; but my enthusiasm dwindled the closer I got to the end.  Yesterday, though, the messages were clearly there as I revisited my notes and reread some pages.

Talk about one step forward and ten steps back.  I stayed on page 122, eight pages behind.

Still, the selections from The Inner Castle have been worthwhile.


Sunday, 2.20.11

In regard to my burning question regarding the scrutiny someone goes through to become a saint, I experienced another of my need-to-know epiphanies as I was looking for links on sainthood for my “Venerable Julia Navarette” post.

The canonization process did indeed get stricter, as you’ll read in “the process of becoming a saint.”

The find was truly serendipitous.


Saturday, 2.19.11

Talk about being in octopus mode and having oh so many irons in the fire.  For months now, between my sewing and other creative tasks, I’ve been reading off and on about St. Anthony’s miracles and St. Anne.

In search of more

I’ve taken my time with the books to ponder the messages behind the text.  I’ve had St. Anthony’s since October; St. Anne’s, which I received from Mary at UTMSI, since November.


Is it just me, or do St. Anthony’s miracles seem too unreal?  Some are repeated in the book, so that makes me wonder.  Is it that I’m a skeptic or that folks from back when were so gullible that even the most simple happening was a miracle?  Why do I have difficulty accepting some of the accounts?

Having lived through two UH methodologists— Dr. Weber, forever quantitative guru extraordinaire, and Dr. Craig, world-class action researcher, presenter, and awesome professor— I learned (in case the school of hard knocks hadn’t put me through the paces yet) to dig further, look more closely, keep validity and reliability in the forefront, and find something new that adds to the body of knowledge.  So, in reading The book on St. Anthony’s miracles, the ol’ pea brain’s questioned both the message and the messenger even though St. Anthony’s my most favorite saint, the one I dialogue with daily as my best friend.

Finding usefulness and inspiration

Of course, the pondering persisted until one Saturday morning some weeks back when I awoke with more of the same nagging thoughts.

Is it just me who’s thinking this way?  How could that be considered a miracle when religious individuals awaiting sainthood in more recent times have gone through more rigorous scrutiny?  What methods were used?  Were first-person accounts really accurate? 

I made the bed, walked past our many books on various topics among which is a stash on saints and more, and suddenly stopped to look at the titles.  I wasn’t exactly thinking, so I just reached for a small thin blue book whose title I couldn’t see, as it was further back, dwarfed among the taller books on the shelf.

Seeing the book’s title made me chuckle.

What timeliness!

Anthony of Padua – Saint of the People – His Life, Legends, and Popular Devotions, edited by Jack Wintz, OFM was exactly what I needed.

Adding to the reading list

Of course, I added the book to my reading list and then— lo and behold— a couple of weeks ago, on passing the book shelves, another book beckoned as well.

I reached for a book from our Norfolk, VA trip in 2008, and pulled Teresa of AvilaSelections from The Interior Castle. 

Like, why have all these books been hiding until now?  But, as I learned from my Franciscan Crown experience, the timing has to be right; and I need to have asked the burning question.

I’ve surmised that the process of arriving is triggered by the need to know.

Sooo…  When this happens, regardless of my bogged down state with all the posts-in-waiting that the ol’ pea brain’s been percolating, I make a most timely discovery.

Amazing, huh?

Captivating book

Suffice it to say that St. Teresa’s book is wholly engrossing!  Just a few pages in, its rooms reminded me of the levels in Dante’s Inferno.  Quite fascinating.

I’ve been reading the book intermittently, making notes to myself in the margins.  This will certainly enrich my pea brain’s thought processes the second read around.

And then I’ll share my thoughts.


Thursday, 12.9.10

Where has the time gone?!!

I’ve been in octopus mode for quite some time.  November almost passed me by unnoticed, and things aren’t slowing down.  So maybe I should say molasses mode?

Worse yet, my ol’ pea brain is sooo full that my head feels heavier than the rest of me.

“Oh, nooooo,” to quote Mr. Bill (from Saturday Night Live).

I’ve been carrying around five, six posts— two already in draft— and I’m going to explode anytime soon!  Maybe my pumpkin brain will make a good pie if it does.

Mom always did call us (me) “calabaza!!!”— exclamation points for emphasis— when we (make that I) did the unthinkable or the unpredicted.


Need I clarify that this was her perspective alone?

Anyway, here’s to getting it all down (or letting it all hang out) soon.


Wednesday, 12.1.10

On Monday, I found a thought-provoking comment awaiting moderation on the dashboard.

“Reality is the playground of the unimaginative,” the yoga.com person had written.

And how does this relate to the “Lenten prayers” post? I wondered.

I shared the comment with Steven, who emailed back.

Fine, and I think I understand what she means.  Lack of dreams, imagination, or conceptualization is boring, has no personality.

However, the real world lives in reality, the land of mortgages and bills and due dates and commitments and kids needing to be fed and the homeless and the service personnel fighting for us overseas.  Too many people live in fantasy worlds and are insufficiently grounded in reality.  The ability to move between reality and the many worlds of the imagination situationally is the key to building a dream and executing it.

Otherwise, one is either a dullard or lost in space.

Jesus pointed this out.  “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”  Balance in all things.  We may go to Mass to fill our spiritual yearnings, but the collection plate brings reality home.

So, post it if you’d like, but maybe you should post this as well…?

I’d already deleted the comment, so I told Steven I’d post his message here instead.

Hmm, food for thought.  Absolutely.  It’ll go on “Words to ponder” since I place personal thoughts there that go off on different tangents.  Thanks!


Thursday, 10.21.10

What a great day we had!  Port Aransas celebrated its centennial and hosted lots of fun, worthwhile activities, including a parade with Marcy Thomas as its Grand Marshal.  Sarah and Wallace Wright, owners of the old St. Joseph mission since 1967, graciously hosted an Open House at which Steven— along with two other fellow SJC Knights, Joe Bream and Carlos Cardenas— conducted tours.

In retrospect

I’d only heard about the old mission during the TX Tropical Trail monthly partner event meeting in Port Aransas, May 2009, when— thanks to Marcy, her brother, and a friend— we boarded a small bus and toured Old Town.  We passed by the old St. Joseph mission.  And Marcy shared her stories, of course.

I did listen, mind you.  But, since we’d be entering the Chapel on the Dunes, I was otherwise distracted with thoughts about the place.  That’s not to say I wasn’t curious about the mission.  I was intrigued and would’ve liked to have returned on my own to take photos, but I just didn’t know where it was.

Ridiculous as this may sound, considering that Port Aransas is a small town of about thirty-four hundred and that I’ve lived here five years, I’m still unfamiliar with streets and places.  My only excuse is that my pea brain hasn’t had to make connections; I’ve been in passenger mode most of the time.

Incredibly, I used to drive back and forth looking for the post office and/or the doctor’s office, passing them up a bunch of times before finding them even though both were less than ten minutes straight down from us on Hwy 361.

Wishful thinking 

Suffice it to say that I waited a long time to see the old mission a second time; so I was thrilled when Steven finally drove me there after church, June twelfth.

Wow!  I oohed and ahhed as I took a dozen photos from the vehicle.  I wanted so badly to enter and explore the place that I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Then, about a month or so later, Steven told me about the town’s centennial festivities scheduled for October sixteenth.  He, as a Knight of Columbus, would be giving tours at the old mission that day.  What an amazing opportunity we’d have to enter, enjoy, and imagine what the old mission was like between 1921 and 1963!

The old mission

That Saturday I was thrilled to fulfill my wish along with countless others.  Some had been part of the mission until it closed; others, like me, simply curious about the place.  And now I know how to find my way there!  

The old St. Joseph mission, located behind the museum on Alister (Hwy 361), closed when St. Joseph Church on Lantana was dedicated.  Then the latter was demolished after our present church was dedicated, February 22, 2009.


Wednesday, 10.7.10

I’ve been alternating between octopus mode and squawking chicken mode for months now, but it’s been especially true since the ol’ pea brain began percolating another “labor of love,” as Steven calls it, since the first week of April.

This new project began as an idea the afternoon I met a precious (precocious) little boy the day before his first birthday.  John was being happily entertained by a white hand balloon when I decided that, yes indeed, I’d make three very special, mostly sewn-by-hand puppets just for him.  Not the regular kind, mind you, as mine are truly unique.

I originally created the prototype for our #1 son, William, when he was just a year old.  He has a six-month-old son of his own now; but back when, a lifetime ago, William was thoroughly fascinated with buttons.  Yep.  Buttons.  All sizes, shapes, and colors.  William salivated at the sight of buttons and loved to chew on them.  So that’s how Mr. Buttons Person came about; and now, eons since then, I’m finishing up Buttons Person number seven, the third of three, for a delightful bundle of sunshine.

Sooo, with my baking, beading, sewing, and creating all sorts of stuff, it’s easy to understand why I sometimes take a long time to post ideas that have been taking up space in the ol’ pea brain.  And, oh, how the plants on the porches have suffered from neglect, too.  Some of them are even a crunchy-looking brown.  Thank goodness some are way hearty all on their own; but, just in case they’re not, I’m watering them tomorrow.


Saturday, 2.6.10

Gosh, I’ve really missed my blog, but our church blog has kept me in octopus mode.  Recently, I shared space with a couple of very engaging, thought-provoking women while waiting at the Toyota place a couple of weeks back; so my pea brain’s been processing that daily.  I’ve written in my journal, but it’s just not the same.  It’ll be good to share.


Friday, 1.22.10

The next part of my dream for St. Joseph Church online has materialized!

On January 4th, our files began their move to our WordPress blog, which is just about complete.

The really nice difference between a website and a blog is that the latter is much more interactive.  For instance, you can comment, as Mary Ellen and Jay did, and get my response.  But wouldn’t it be great to build community by commenting on each other’s comments?  Tres cool.

The best— and last— part is knowing that I’ll soon be uploading Fr. Xaviour’s audio homilies onto SJC’s “messages” page.  This has been the driving force behind my ideas for, first, the website and, now, the blog.  I started recording in October, and I’ve thought of little else.  It’s a biggie to be able to share Fr. Xaviour’s words to ponder, so I need to decide on the size of the space upgrade in the next few days. 

Overall, I’m really excited about St. Joseph’s new blog for lots of reasons.  Viewing document sized photos by merely clicking on their thumbnails is terrific, and the length of the pages?  Ooh-la-la!  I could go on and on and on, but why not take a look for yourself?

There’s a page on St. Joseph, too— better than before— with lots of interesting links to browse, including a recipe for making zeppole for his feast day in March.  Yum.

So, check out the church blog and see what you think.


Sunday, 10.4.09

Last December I started taking notes during Mass.  It’s something I used to do back home.  Only I’d write on the palms of my hands, since I didn’t take paper with me to church, and the bulletin was handed out after Mass.  

Oftentimes I’d wash my hands before realizing that— uh-oh— I erased my notes.  Other times, I’d transcribe onto my quotes page on the computer desktop or my journal.  Not here, though.  I go prepared with a pad and an extra pen.  I figure that, if folks can’t listen in person— we have lots of winter Texans and visitors throughout the year— they might want to read Fr. Xaviour’s message instead.  So this is how the “messages” (from the pulpit) originated on our church website.

Since the dedication of our new church building on February twenty-second, we’ve had several guest homilists, including Margot Ortega-Coco, whom Fr. Deane invited to speak in his place.  I was really impressed with Margot’s inspirational story, but I was blown away when she graciously agreed to give Steven her typewritten essay for me to post on our church website.  That was really nice.

From the start, my goal has been to post audios of the homilies, which some folks may find more captivating than the written word; but it’s taken a while to decide on the means to do that, since I faced two dilemmas: First, I needed a user-friendly recording device; and, second, our web hosting site doesn’t allow file uploads larger than five megabytes.

Steven and I problem solved until about three weeks ago.  He found a great little techno-gadget, a SansaFuze (SF), which arrived October second, perfect for Sunday’s first run.

Using only my instincts, I tested it Saturday night and learned how to turn it on and— hmm— maybe off.  I also experimented with recording and setting the volume.

Sunday morning at nine o’clock Mass, I turned on the SF right before Fr. Xaviour’s gospel reading and successfully turned it off.  Amazing, although, yes, it can do that on its own, too.

On getting home, I set the SF on my computer desk and finally made time to download its user manual from the company’s website ’cause something that cute has to be used.  Considering that it’s smaller than a credit card and only as thick as eight, the SF is quite versatile; but I still need my Coolpix to take photos.

I uploaded Sunday’s homily onto the desktop, but the ol’ pea brain was percolating another dilemma.  I couldn’t upload the wav file onto our website, so I had to come up with a plan.

I can now transcribe the homily verbatim since I can play the SF over and over till I get every last word.  Better yet I can upload the audio homilies onto my blog, make this page their central location, and place a link to here from the site library page on the church website!


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© Deli Lanoux, Ed.D. and Shared thoughts…, 2008.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deli Lanoux, Ed.D. and Shared thoughts… with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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