July 31, 2008


I'm wanting to post about Ignatius Loyola today, but want to read something first, but I don't have time for that right now. We have LOTS of company coming this weekend, starting tomorrow afternoon. So there's lots of things I need to be doing.

Dawson is carrying on his rock work out back. So many of my garden beds have rotted wood boards or logs needing replacing. I just watered my basil-tomato bed and am in awe and in love with his rock work! He'll be finishing up more today.

I'm reupholstering two old chairs I had got at a yard sale years ago. I've always liked them, but they've been sitting in the garage for years (so mice has gotten to them and just the nature of our garage activity - some legs were broken). So Monte finished fixing all the woodwork after I removed any existing old stuffing and stuff. I think I'll be able to get them done today!''

Denver Colorado just broke records for consistent days over 90. Denver is a mile high, and for us at 8000' we're usually five-ten degrees cooler. It's still hot in the sun, but our air temp is pleasant. So doing the chairs on the front porch, on the north side of our home, is nice.

So ... the rest of the story later.

July 29, 2008

Saint? Olaf

St Olaf
Today's calendar date remembers Olaf/Olav of Norway (995-1030). I have him on my calendar just because he's Scandinavian - our roots are Scandinavian. The sagas of his life are interesting.

Most of his youth was spent as a Viking pirate. When he became a Christian, his rugged individualism lifestyle carried over into Christianizing his country.

I had read a good article on him and wish I wrote down the exact phrase they used defining his evangelistic style - something along the line--"You become a Christian or you die!". Conversion by the sword may be the best phrase. I guess it's good? he fought for his faith.

The faith he labored to instill, began to grow and flourish after his death. What the sword couldn't do, even in 'good faith', the Spirit did.

Martha and Homemaking Beyond Maintenance

Today is the calendar day to remember Martha. Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus were good friends of Jesus.

One of my workshop titles is "Homemaking Beyond Maintenance". If you look for it on Amazon it will tell you it's a book not yet in print - so my title and me as the author is there ... waiting ... I've been meaning to write that workshop up into a book. People have requested it over the years.

I mention Mary and Martha. We've all heard countless time about Mary making the 'better choice' in sitting at Jesus' feet. Martha is often denigrated. Housekeeping for several decades became denigrated (though Martha Stewart helped turn some of that around).

I've sat with that scripture often. First I noticed, in conjunction with other scriptures, that Jesus often returned to this home in Bethany. Martha always welcomed Jesus into their house and made him feel at home. Martha practiced hospitality well.

Then, it seems Jesus is reprimanding Martha after her requesting that Mary leave listening to Him at His feet and help her in the meal preparations. But in looking closer I saw that Jesus' only complaint was that Martha was 'so distracted and worried by many things'. He didn't mean for Martha to stop preparing the meal - instead, He meant for her to open the eyes and the ears of her heart to be present to Him in what she was doing.

I used to have a book that had some subtitle like "More of Martha to be More of Mary" (that's not it, but like it) - the point being, that maybe if we plan well in our home keeping, we'd be able to also just sit at Jesus' feet. I've taken the time as a Domestic Engineer to research the tools of my trade and how to wield them skillfully.

Martha was engaging in her tasks in a self-preoccupied state that took her awareness away from Jesus' presence. We need to go about our tasks in a state of God-consciousness. Home Keeping can be a labor of love as I use my head, hands and heart in creating a home, moving beyond mundane maintenance into the realm of creativity. In all that I do, am I reflecting the Image of God?

As Mary Englebret says, "Like whatever you do".

July 28, 2008

Dawson's rock work

I said in my post last night I'd take a picture of the finished rock wall defining my east flower bed. And while walking around this morning looking at everything, I took a picture of my first hollyhock to bloom this year - I plant the heirloom black hollyhocks and save the seeds for future plantings.

I bought a new garden book I really like. It has a lot of practical upkeep gardening tips. She says to cut back hollyhocks right after all the flowers are done blooming and the plant will grow new side stocks to flower again in the season. I know this to be true, but hadn't thought of it as something for me to do each year with all my hollyhocks. I'm remembering how the plants do make new flower stocks after the elk have eaten the tops! (Loving my electric fence ;^) )

Think about it ... If the life cycle of a plant is to continue, then the final goal is to create seeds for new growth. So if the one time typical flowers get destroyed, then the plant is going to hurry to produce new flowers to go to seed. I learned this too with vegetables. We had a root cellar for years. The reason a lot of produce will keep well in a cold storage is because for most of them, they are created to spend the following year's growing season to produce seed.

Hmmm ... could a spiritual analogy be made from this? I love learning things!

July 27, 2008


I just have to post this! When rereading my recent posts just now with the Arlo Guthrie quote, my thoughts wandered to a NPR story today. We had neighbors over for supper tonight, and while preparing, with the radio on in the kitchen, I heard the reminiscing of Woodstock in 1969 - because a museum has been created with 60's memorabilia - all going on right there and then, and what was going on in the culture.

I remember Woodstock! Not that I was there. But I was there in spirit. I was a part of that culture.

What I am glad of when I think of it all, is that I'm glad I was young at the time, too young to have made that pilgrimage. I would have, had I been a bit older. What I think, is that my age was a blessing at that particular time in history. I did have friends who died of drug over-doses, auto accidents ... I have names for these people. I knew them. And had I been a bit older to feel able to have taken off ... I hate to imagine my life's turnings ...

though still in God's grip. This time period was the first of three deserts in my felted art depiction of my life's journey. What I refer to as a self-imposed desert.

Busy Days

I've got a lot of pictures, capturing current happenings around here. Last week I might have mentioned that Dawson's girlfriend Splara (Sarah) stayed here a few days while her parents were on their anniversary get-away. They hiked and fished with Monte and friends Monday. I'm glad Dawson took a picture on this hike of a purple cone, cuz I saw some around here - like new buds on a pine tree- and I didn't take a picture.

I thought I'd add another picture Dawson took up on Mt Evens where they hiked, just to show you that as it's hot down here, in the middle of the summer, there's still snow higher in the mountains! We have taken company up there to slide in the snow fields - some people from the south who hardly see snow! So the fish they caught could be packed in snow and kept fresh.

Tuesday Splara helped me weed the vegetable garden while Dawson was starting to build a picnic table. Dawson could have just built a normal style picnic table, but no ... he looked on line and really wanted to do a round one. So we told him to go for it. He downloaded the plans, bought the wood, and had to do hard math - even engineer Monte was struggling with it; sawed all these strange angles, and put it together. Now it sits by the campfire amphitheater. (There used to be another aspen tree there and I always did want a round table around it, but the tree died, but now I've got my round table.)

Wednesday Splara and Dawson worked on gathering rocks into the back of our truck, from our neighbors. She weeded around the amphitheater while Dawson pick-axed the compacted soil in front of my flower bed on the east side of our house. I've always wanted a FLAT path from the front of the house, in front of this bed, to the back deck. Now it's flat and Dawson made a rock wall in front of flower bed. I LOVE IT! (I'll post the 'done' picture tomorrow.)

Another friend of Dawson's, Jeremy, stayed with us a couple days while Dawson finished this wall and Jeremy pick-axed out a large shrub and moved it. Then they removed sod out back and pick-axed a trench for an electrical cord we want to put in. AND Dawson did a new water line in my vegetable garden with a line to an old sink we put down there, while Jeremy finished up the electrical trench.

So with this new path to the back I have a new little bed to build up the soil in and plant. I'm calling it my 'triangle bed' as I make notes. I have pages of notes on a clip board, and drawn pictures of all my plantings from years back. I make notes each year in differing ink, writing notes about what died, or what I like, or what I should move, etc ...

Dawson will be working hard this week too (remember, we hired him for the summer to work around here), with more rock wall work out back opposite my tomato bed (I'm posting a picture of my tomatoes in walls-of-water, which they remain in all summer, with basil and a few cucumber in front, and scarlet runner beans up poles in the back along my greenhouse windows). We're still waiting on our neighbors little bobcat to finish up the rest of the landscaping. But it's worked out great with everything spacing out fine. Cuz I'll have to do a lot more planting and watering with that new area. So considering our juggling of water use, I've already established several new planted areas and will be able to take on a new one soon.

AND still waiting on rain!!! The fire danger is almost extreme! It surprises me how without much moisture the wildflowers will still grow. Maybe they're not as thick this year, but our meadow is FULL of wild Monarda - purple bee balm. I hope they're still as beautiful this next weekend when we've got a lot of company. I'll see if between Dawson's great camera and my pocket Canon Elph, we can capture a picture of the meadow with the wildflowers.

July 26, 2008

Saint Christopher

Yesterday was St Christopher's day. I thought of his story all day and could have written from my memory, but I wanted to reread his story from an old 1914 book of children's stories we have, but the day got away from me. So this morning I read the story, enjoying the cool of the morning while watering the grass, and drinking my English breakfast tea.

Christopher, like Veronica, are possibly not real historic people. But stories have been told around campfires and hearths for centuries. Both of their stories seem to come from the root meaning of their names (or is it the other way around? like which came first, the chicken or the egg? belly-buttons or birth? did created trees have tree rings?). I posted about Veronica several weeks ago. So here's the legend of Christopher -

Christopher was a big man (and I think he grows as do fish stories) and said to be a Canaanite. He lived seeking and serving whom he thought the greatest in the world. Initially he served a king, said to be the greatest. But when he saw the king cross himself, or as my old english story is worded: "when he heard the name of the devil, made anon the sign of the cross". "Fearest thou the devil? Then is the devil more mighty and greater than thou art?"

So Christopher left the king's court and sought out the devil. He fell in with a group of marauders, whose leader declared himself to be the devil. But when the devil cowered and fled from a crucifix, learning of a man called Christ who hung on a cross, Christopher left seeking where he should find this Christ.

A hermit told him about fasting and prayer, which Christopher didn't feel he could do. Because of his stature, the hermit suggested he live by the river and bear people who needed to cross the river. "This will be pleasing to our Lord Jesu Christ, whom thou desirest to serve, and I hope he shall show himself to thee." "That I can do."

Christopher, with a great pole to support himself in the water, carried many people across the water. A small child asked Christopher to carry him across on his shoulders. It was stormy and the water was swelling and the child seemed to get heavier and heavier - "waxed heavy and Christopher suffered great anguish and was afeared to be drowned".

On the other side, putting down the child, he said, "You put me in great peril. Thou weighest almost as I had all the world upon me. I might bear no greater burden." And the child answered: "Christopher, marvel thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne Him that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders. I am Christ whom thou servest by this work."

Christophoror is Greek for "Christ-bearer". I'm sure you've seen medallions hanging from the rearview mirror of vehicles and people wear it as a necklace - this image of a man with a staff in hand and carrying a child on his shoulders. He's the patron saint of travelers.

The picture, by Titian, is out of a library book. Of all the pictures I've seen, it's my favorite. Off and on I've checked out lots of children's books looking for great stories for calendar celebrations, stories that grab your heart. Jesus taught primarily from stories for a reason.

There's so much in his story that touches me. So many scripture passages come to my mind. I'm not going to mention them, letting you sit with the story, and letting it touch you. What I will say, in having rereading the old golden legend, I so trust and believe that any who are truly seeking Truth, God will show Himself to them.

July 25, 2008

Arlo Guthrie Quote

"You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in."

July 23, 2008

Bridget of Sweden

Today is the day for the story of Bridget (Bridgid/Brigitta) of Sweden. She lived in the 1300s, born of nobility, and was the mother of eight and lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Bridget had great influence over the kings of Sweden in her lifetime and even made earnest admonitions to many others, including the current Pope. Though Magnus never fully reformed, he did help her in allowing her to pursue her religious activities. She passed into the joys of eternity July 23, 1373, at the age of 71.

The art work was done by Carl Larsson from a Book on Famous Women of Sweden.

Bridget is remembered for her charitable heart. Margery Kempe says Bridget was "kind and meek to every creature", while strong and courageous, and "she had a laughing face". From a young age Bridget had visions and her many revelations were written down, and translated into many languages, and still in print. Rather than being isolated from the affairs of the world, her visions involved her in many contemporary issues.

What interests me most is how much our visual imaginings of Jesus' life from birth to death are affected by art depictions. Bridget's visions had a great impact on Renaissance art.

Mary Magdalene

July 22 is my Heather's birthday. Hope you had a nice birthday Heather!

July 22 on the church calendar is Mary Magdalene's remembrance day. Prior to the DaVinci Code book, what would google have for Mary Magdalene besides her life being affected by the living Jesus Christ. I would write that 'His embracing her as an outcast, Jesus loved her into the kingdom'. But now after the book's popularity, that might not be the best way to phrase how Jesus saved Mary Magdalene. But that phrase is what I believe.

So which Mary in the gospels is this Mary? I've read the confusions. Some think she's a prostitute and the one who weeped and wiped Jesus' feet; some think she's Lazarus's sister, who sat at Jesus' feet, and anointed his feet too? The actual use of Mary Magdalene is used of the woman who was healed of seven demons (did she weep at Jesus' feet too? I'm confused. But why wouldn't she too be so grateful and be at Jesus feet?).

Mary Magdalene is also mentioned at both the cross and the empty tomb. In fact, she's the first witness and missionary - 'sent one', to go tell the others the good news. We so often just picture Jesus walking about with the twelve men, when in reality there were many women in the close followers too.

If Mary Magdalene could speak to us today, she'd tell us that whoever she really was makes no difference because "we are all sinners in need of the saving power of God, whether our sins have been lurid or not". And like in the picture, I too have embraced the cross and what it means for my life - my everyday aliveness!

July 21, 2008


I'm baking bread. I usually make enough in one day to last a month or two. We've been out of bread and I didn't feel like baking, so I bought some last week - good stuff. But stuff it is! Almost no bread can compare to homemade from fresh ground flour (unless of coarse I do a flop batch!)(but there's always uses for flops).

I just picked my first daylily. I have regular lilies blooming now and one is a deep red. I put this daylily in a little pot Travis and Sarah gave me for Christmas. Last week I put rose buds in it.

I decided to take pictures of what's hanging over the kitchen table right now. Every summer there's these bees I hang from the wreath over the table. They're made from sheep wool, wrapped with yellow embroidery thread with tissue paper wings. It's amazing how many years these delicate little things have lasted - especially considering Dawson and his friends like to flick them. I also wove a little 'hive' with a bee on it, that is either on my shelves of doilies, tea cups and miniature treasures, or I'll put it on the kitchen table.

Monte is gone hiking and fishing down Mt Evans today with Dawson and some of his friends. Last week Dawson had a whole group camping there for a few days and Monte hiked up and down in one day. I think today they were leaving a vehicle down at the bottom so they could drive around and pick up the vehicle they left at the top. Mt Evans is a 40 minute drive from our house and is the highest paved road in the US (and the world?).

I've done a load of laundry and was going to do more, but it's hot (well, hot here is almost 90, but at 8000 feet's thin air wouldn't the sun feel hotter? at least there's a nice breeze blowing through the house) and not rained yet (not REALLY rained much in two months), so I'll be watering this evening (we've no clay in our soil, so water goes straight down and the dirt, or decomposed granite dries out fast), and with our well, I have to space out watering and laundry and showers.

Six loaves of basic bread, four french bread, and four baguettes all done. Six more loaves of basic bread to go (maybe I'll skip this second batch today), and then a combination from the same dough of two dozen hamburger/dinner rolls and two dozen cinnamon rolls.

I know they'll bring fish home, but we'll cook them tomorrow. I'll grill hamburgers, large portabella mushrooms, and onions, for supper tonight. And we'll have them with fresh homemade buns.

Family Reunion

I was going to post this yesterday morning while my mind was still swirling with all the conversation and memories of the day before, but I didn't. I sat on my deck drinking my pot of English breakfast tea, reading, and enjoying my birds and chattering little gray squirrels. Then we went to church, ate at the Smiling Moose Cafe, and then walked around Summerfest, Evergreen's annual arts and craft fair. This year it was moved to the ball park and I missed the ambiance of trees. So this morning I've got my tea and can still enjoy all the birds, but I brought my MacBook out here.

Saturday was a family reunion for the Magnuson clan, here in Evergreen, at my mom's cousins place. His dad had a cabin along Upper Bear Creek since I was a child and reunions and church picnics often happened there. Now the cabin (which reminded me of a basic double wide trailer, nothing fancy) is gone and the son, Sherod, built him and Phyllis a home there.

I'm the oldest girl grandchild of the Arnold Magnuson family tree, so I'm the one of my siblings that has memories of the older family now gone - all those reunions and then gatherings in Washington Park for picnics too. Looking around at all the people, my mom and her older sister Betty, are the last ones left having all the old stories!

I enjoyed sitting with my aunt Betty, her oldest son Terry, and Sherod, listening to the old stories. My aunt's body may not be functioning well these days but there's nothing wrong with her memories and wit! Sherod was able to pull stories from Betty that he has memories of as a child, and Terry and me have only heard stories of, and I think Sherod's been doing some researching.

I have vague memories of a family cabin with a large kitchen and lots of bunk-beds and a rope swing, prior to the Upper Bear Creek one, that was near South Turkey Creek and Deer Creek. And Sherod was old enough as a kid to investigate further from the cabin - him and Nic would sneak peeks at a nudist camp, that apparently still exists there, he says.

But the stories tell how much the Magnuson's played roles in Denver's roots. Monte's seen the Magnuson name all over Colorado in connection with mines and mills. Brick manufacturing and concrete and so much other stuff started, with them involved. And then there's the fun family stories.

Travis and Sarah came Friday night to sleep over. I made fish tacos which are so good, and we had a campfire and made s'mores. What I didn't know, since my mom FORGOT to tell me... My brother and sister, Rob and Kelli, with their families, were driving up from Arizona for the reunion - so that made it more special. And our cousin Sonja came from Alaska with her two kids.

It was with Rob and Sonja that we got on the subject of family traits. I don't remember the thread of conversation that brought us to our feet, but we have unique feet. Some of us in the Arnold Magnuson descendants have what we've called "webbed" toes. We started comparing toes, with some shedding of shoes. Sonja said it's a Bradford trait - Arnold Magnuson married Thelma Bradford. Sonja said, her dad said, William Bradford from the Mayflower wrote in his journal about his webbed toes. My cousin Tim's kids said they called them "twin toes" and my Aunt Betty said she called them "Siamese toes" (hers and uncle Ted's are joined all the way to the toe nail). We all decided we like the twin toes description the best! (I am posting a picture Rob!)

So 'twas a good day. Good food. Great weather. Plenty of table seating with red check tablecloths and flowers in pint jars under rented canopies. The river flowing and kids playing in it ...

July 17, 2008


This was on my sister-in-law Chris's family web page and I couldn't pass posting it to my sight. Several years ago I had checked out a bunch of books from the library on Home Organization. It had mentioned multi-tasking as good, unless you keep getting distracted. So if you know you are the type of person below, and you are wanting to get things done, stay put and accomplish the one thing or one room at a time. Sometimes I find it best to start a list for the next day's tasks the day or night before, so that when I wake in the morning, I don't forget what I wanted to try and get done that day.

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

the car isn't washed

the bills aren't paid

there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter

the flowers don't have enough water,

there is still only 1 check in my check book,

I can't find the remote,

I can't find my glasses,

and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....

Orthodoxy and Russia

Vladimir began his rule over the Kievan Rus as a cruel tyrant and tireless playboy, BUT... he was wise enough to recognize that a common faith could give his country unity.

On this day in 977, he sent messengers to investigate the four great faiths of the civilized world.

The messengers did not like Islam and Judaism with their dietary restrictions and smells. Roman Catholicism they said was 'too simple'. But his messengers sold him with their report of Byzantium Eastern Orthodoxy.

Speaking of the worship in Constantinople's Hagia Sophia, they said, "We did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth ... never shall we be able to forget so great a beauty."

Vladimir embraced Orthodoxy and wed the Byzantine emperor's sister Anna. Thus what was to become Imperial Russia took Orthodoxy as their faith, and Christianity spread.


I've posted about my son Dawson's photoblog. Well, I occasionally look at my other son's photo flicker site (he doesn't post as much! - Travo!!!). So I'm trying posting his most recent photo here so y'all can see it. What is this Travis?

July 16, 2008

Anne Marie Javouhey

I just got home from a meeting with some of our church's artists. My new friend Amy asked if I've got a calendar person to share about. I had said I didn't think I have anyone I remember until next week. I was wrong. There's a woman on the church calendar for July 15, yesterday - Anne Marie Javouhey. She's known as a "woman with a mission". She lived in the early 1800s.

Her family hid priests during the French Revolution when they were trying to destroy the Church and Christianity. During the revolutionary years "Nanette", as she was called, taught local children, and always dreamed of helping black people, though she'd never seen any.

She was asked to serve in French colonial Africa, and successfully established schools, hospitals, and leper colonies. France then asked her to its dominions in French Guiana, South America, in an effort to bring it some measure of civilization.

It was an inhospitable colony. She was known as Mother Javouhey, "Mother of the blacks", and when asked how she managed to subdue the tough characters she dealt with, she'd reply, "I just acted like a mother among her children", "I was placed as a mother in the middle of a large family". She bought them their freedom, giving them land, and teaching them how to farm; educating by means of gentleness and patience. She based her civilizing work on the family.

Altogether, starting many missions, she traveled 75,000-plus miles - amazing considering the times and modes of travel available! What interests me, is that she was called upon to help in so many very tough places, even to Tahiti and India. Where men were brought in to establish governments failed, she had many successes and was often called upon, even by other countries. The gospel always met with success and prevailed.

"Let us take care," she said, "not to go faster than Providence, which wishes to be followed and not led ... Experience has taught me that the work of God is done slowly."

July 14, 2008

Mercy Quote

The pearl of justice is found in the heart of mercy.
- Catherine of Siena

Mercy and justice do go together, don't they?

Some would see justice more in their reading of scripture, other's, mercy. Me? ... I'm analyzing how pearls are made ... a speck of dust and then layers ...

Definition of pearl: a hard roundish object formed within a soft tissue of a mollusk shell...

Something as ordinary as dirt, intruding and irritating, becoming something rare, fine, and beautiful.

The Kingdom of Heaven was compared to a pearl of great price, by Jesus. "Casting pearls before swine"? When do we know someone is unappreciative of the value and beauty of the gospel? When do we 'give up' on someone, give up on mercy?

July 13, 2008


One of my best friends, Ellen, has begun a blog. She's an excellent writer (she has a chapter in a recent book) and I've so waited for her blog so I could 'read her heart' on an almost daily basis. I've been waiting for her most recent post I knew she was going to write, to mention what I'm about to mention...

Just as China has been preparing for hosting the Olympics and trying to improve their image before the world (and I've posted long ago about their involvement in Darfur, which is in the news again this morning, that I learned about from reading a Lost Boy of the Sudan story), Denver Colorado is preparing to host the Democratic National Convention in August. So close to home, we probably hear a lot more of the stories than the rest of the country.

One thing you don't hear about in all the preparations is the human trafficking that goes on behind the scenes. Ellen has a huge heart for women and the misogyny that goes on around the world and throughout time. She's attended world gatherings where women share their stories. Being her friend, I've heard the stories. Her love for the church, and what it can look like, is what she likes to ponder, and write about. How can we help God co-create the world?

July 12, 2008

EB White Quote

E.B. White wrote, "Just to live in the country is a full-time job. You don't have to do anything. The idle pursuit of making a living is pushed to one side, where it belongs, in favor of living itself, a task of such immediacy, variety, beauty, and excitement that one is powerless to resist its wild embrace."


Today is Veronica's day on the calendar. When I watched the movie "The Passion of Christ", I recognized her (as I saw so much other usage of history and art in the movie - like I loved the frozen scene reminding me of Michelangelo's 'Pieta').

The very name "Veronica" comes from "vera icon" meaning "true image".

Was there a Veronica as Jesus carried the load of His cross - dragging, stumbling, collapsing, sweating ...who wiped Jesus' face? It is claimed there is a cloth, a relic, which bears the image of Christ. I don't focus on whether there's a cloth with a miraculous face image of Jesus.

I like to believe there was a woman of compassion, who stepped out of the crowd of onlookers, and helped Jesus, by wiping the sweat from his eyes and face. My focus is given to the love and charity that prompted her action. This good deed became the sixth, in the fourteen Stations of the Cross, that so many Christians 'live' through every Good Friday.

I am glad for a day each year, in the busyness of life, to stop and ponder her action, that overflowed from a compassionate heart. Oh, that my heart be so full of overflowing love ...

July 11, 2008

Dawson's rock work

Dawson has been doing rock work this week. Monte did the rock work last fall (to the right of the stairs) above the campfire area we call the amphitheater. I had planted more grass and then old wildflower seeds to cover a dirt area Monte had smoothed out with the tractor last fall (burying an old concrete cascading fall and pond Travis had made years ago that was cracking and not functioning).

Dawson and his friends have been having campfires- roasting fish, hotdogs and/or smores. I told him he needed to make steps. So he did. Now he's finishing up a rock wall in front of the house where Monte made a new parking area last fall.

The plan is to get our neighbor's tractor soon, when he's home from vacation, and finishing up the landscaping behind our house, putting in a split-rail fence, that'll be electric still, and turning last year's new parking spot into an oval circle drive around two pine trees. Then there will be more rock work to be done. Luckily our neighbor has plenty of rocks.

What a man Dawson!!!
Check out his photoblog. That's where I just stole his two rock pictures from, but he's posted pictures of his backpack trip and climbing one of Colorado's 50 14ers.

Monte's currently cleaning the front porch with the shop-vac. The pine pollen is done and we're wanting to get rid of all the yellow dust. AND we have company coming tonight. Another artists from church Show&Tell night.

St Benedict

Depending on what calendar you use, it looks like Benedict has two feast days. Today the 11th is his day, as is the day he died, March 21st. I think I read somewhere that they didn't want to celebrate him during lent, so moved his remembrance date.

Benedict is the founder of Western monasticism and had an immense influence on the Christianization of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. His "how-to" book for monks, the Rule of St Benedict, is one of the basic documents of the Middle Ages, those centuries during which monasteries were Europe's only surviving centers of art, learning, and civilization.

He lived during the first half of the sixth century, born in Italy, of noble parents. His twin sister, Scholastica (strange name, I wonder if she lived up to her name - brainy!) has a day on the church calendar too.

He was dedicated to the principle that "to work is to pray" - thereby opposing the foolish prejudice of those unenlightened days against manual labor. He layed the foundation for the greatest monastery in all Christendom: Monte Cassino.

He said: "If you are really a servant of Jesus Christ, let the chain of love hold you firm in your resolve, not a chain of iron."

What I may do some day, since I've not seen one, is create a chart of all the Christian monastic groups to see where they most differed. I'd like to understand each of their roots: Benedictine, Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican, Augustinian and Jesuit orders, mainly. I do know the Jesuits seemed to push more in the education, knowledge realm, yet Thomas Aquinas, at the height of the Scholastic era, chose to be associated with the Dominicans.

The bits of history I do know show me so many of these orders began during times of great social change. Like when Constantine made the empire Christian and you were persecuted if you were NOT a Christian - the Desert Fathers and Mothers sought a new holy way of life. Benedict was at the timing of Barbarians ransacking all of Europe, and we'd not have so much literature and art work saved, if not for those monasteries. When the merchant era of Europe was beginning, Francis sought to show a dependance on God's providing...We have monasteries to thank for their missionary and philanthropic work and as islands of refuge. And then unfortunately, the Reformation destroyed most of the monasteries of northern Europe.

Today there's a new monastic movement stirring. The Holy Spirit is moving in new ways. I've heard and read of many groups of peoples living out the Gospel today in exciting ways and places, all over the world. It isn't a call to return to the Middle Ages but challenges us to open our imaginations to new possibilities.

July 10, 2008

Rose Hawthorne

Yesterday, July 9th, is the calendar remembrance day of Rose Hawthorne. Her story reminds me of Dorothy Day (whose feast day is November 29). Dorothy lived later in the 20th century and Rose did her work of servanthood at the beginning of the 20th century. I just watched a movie on Dorothy Day a few weeks ago that was really good - "Entertaining Angels". There will be many images that'll return to me the rest of my life from that movie of what living loving God really looks like! Dorothy Day was no saint!

I don't even know if Rose Hawthorne's canonization completed. The process began in 2003, which is a very long and demanding process. Both women were very much women of the world, who gave up everything to care for the lowest of society.

What intrigues me the most about Rose is that she's Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter. She was born into one of America's most creative and influential literary circle's. Labeled as Transcendentalists, Rose grew up surrounded by Emerson, Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and others. Since I've followed some of their lives I enjoyed reading American Bloomsbury.

Rose had lived in London, Paris, Rome and Florence. Her father was an author (she was born just after The Scarlet Letter was published). She even had some of her own writings published. She was married and divorced. Her son had died when 5; and her husband was an alcoholic. She gave everything up to serve the poor.

Becoming a Catholic must have greatly distressed her father, and then to give up everything and live in the slums of New York. "I am trying to serve the poor as a servant. I wish to serve the cancerous poor because they are more avoided than any other class of sufferers; and I wish to go to them as a poor creature myself." Taking in cancerous poor, shunned by family and friends, was risking all, at a time when cancer was considered contagious.

July 9, 2008

Memory Lane

The summer rains have begun - "Yeah!" Monday it rained most of the day. So I took the day doing more in making Heather's old bedroom my sewing, art/craft, and now "Memory Room". Though the whole house holds memories, Heather's room now has more of my childhood memories.

I had bought and stained awhile back some shelving for the room. So the rainy day was a perfect day to put up the shelves (I still love the denim material I pasted onto her walls). I went through a barrel we moved up to Colorado with, labeled "Mom's Memories". It was fun going through it and walking down memory lane: things my grandma made me when I was a little girl, school year stuff, and on to some things I saved that I made my young kids.

So one shelf holds memorabilia from Austria, where I was born. My dad was overseas, in the military, with after war cleanup and my mom joined him. I have the beautiful scrapbook she made of that time and I recently read through her white ink writings on the black paper. During "The Sound of Music" movie she'd say, "You were there", "We were there", "I've seen that"...

Another shelf holds some of my old doll collection. My Barbie sits in the middle. My grandma made the chair from an opened tuna can - the lid is the back of the chair. It's covered in blue velvet. The Barbie is my second or third. I thought I had saved my old heads, but couldn't find them in the barrel. I had the original first ponytail Barbie they came out with - my aunt Recie bought it for me. The surrounding dolls are old. My grandma gave them to me and made tons of clothes for all my dolls, both sewed and knitted. I saved them all (or I should thank my mom that she saved them for me in the beginning - valuing what I valued).

Of my saved baby dolls, my Thumbelina has remained the best (other than my sister Kelli cutting off some of her hair) - AND it is close to 50 years old! So I went through some of the baby things my grandma had knit for me (I was the first girl grandchild) and had fun dressing Thumbelina in them and now she sits (lays) in Heather's old room, next to a cuddly patchwork dog I made from a tie-dyed sheet I did in a high-school art class.

And I hung some of my tie-dyed and batiked things from high-school. I liked to tie-dye material and see what I saw in it and then India ink details. I went through photos I did in a photography class where we got to play in the darkroom.

I was/am a saver I guess. Heather packed up a lot of her memories and is currently going through them with Bill in their new home in Texas. Since they didn't do the typical dating thing, this is helping them share their stories. And I told her to then throw a bunch of the stuff away! But she just emailed me about enjoying remembering, and even crying over some of the things she's finding.

Travis with his wife Sarah have come the past couple of years and helped us go through all the stored junk in the large space that is now Monte's new office and the garage. We wanted Travis to take whatever was important to him home. We had so much fun with all the remembering and telling stories. "Oh, I remember this ..." And Sarah would laugh over so much of the junk that was truly junk and try and help Monte think clearly and throw some stuff away (Monte's a saver too)!

Dawson will some day have to go through the same process with us. His stuff is still stored in the garage ... and bunk house ... and old ferret house ... and playhouse turned "Dawson's Natural History Museum".

Memories, like stories, are important to us. We've been giving and throwing away more and more stuff, but I'm making sure I capture the memories by taking pictures of them (LOVE this new digital camera era!).

Just a side note in connection to memories and stories - I read about people in nursing homes and the importance of memories. People, even caring family members, might just look at things as junk, but when helping move one into a nursing home care, it's important to ask them about things and see what stories are connected with them. This 'junk', with their memories, often keep the last years of living more 'alive'.

July 7, 2008

Evelyn Underhill Quote

A spiritual life is simply a life
in which all that we do comes from the center,

where we are all anchored in God:
a life soaked through and through
by a sense of God's reality and claim,
and self-given to the great movement of God's will.

I like Evelyn Underhill. I only have one book of hers and should have more. I've quoted her before.

July 6, 2008

Church Split & Freedom

On this day of July 6 in 1054, the Christian Church split apart. The four eastern patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch, broke off fellowship with the one in the west, Rome.

Why? Differences over allowing clergy to marry; Rome used unleavened bread in their Eucharist. But mostly over the Latin church adding the assertion that the Holy Spirit proceeded from both Father and Son to the Nicene Creed.

And since I'm talking about the calendar, did you know that three presidents died on Independence Day? Two old friends died within hours of one another in 1826, the 2nd and 3rd presidents, both intricately involved in the Declaration of Independence - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Then in 1831, the 5th president, James Monroe, died. All were founding fathers of the United States.

I'm posting an art piece by John Trumball. It is the "Declaration of Independence" meant "to preserve the resemblance of the authors of this memorable act". If you see an enlargement of this picture you'd think that Jefferson is stepping on John Adam's foot. Hmmm.....

Independence Day

We spent 4th of July in Ft Collins at Travis & Sarah's home. It was a great day with friends and family. Travis did the yummy ribs and we all brought the rest of the food and drinks.

Dawson brought his ... like walking on a tight rope, but only a foot or so above the ground. I can't imagine doing it high off the ground, but then they have safety nets. I think I might be able to do it with holding a pole to help balance. Some people kept trying all afternoon and got pretty good. And they set up the bean-bag toss game.

Dawson set up his camera on a tripod at the fireworks in the park and snapped tons of pictures with a remote while laying on a blanket. So I'm posting one of his pictures. He'll probably play with some of his pictures and post them on his photoblog soon (He's backpacking right now).

We stayed the night. Dawson and Splara made us breakfast. We had a great time!

It's raining now! Yeah!!!!! My rain dance worked! Yesterday was the first rain in a couple weeks. We really needed it.

July 3, 2008


Today is the calendar day to remember the Apostle Thomas's story. His story? Not much is known of Thomas and if not for the Gospel of John, we wouldn't know much of anything. Other's have mentioned Thomas in their writings. And it's said he was allotted to go to India as a missionary and died a martyrs death.

He's called "Doubting Thomas" by most Christians. The term is used in a sardonic way - like "better are we who believe without the need to see!" Or like it's wrong to doubt. Are Christians not to doubt? If no doubts, why would we need faith?! "Doubt is the shadow cast by faith" - Hans Kung. (The painting is by Caravaggio.)

Thomas is also referred to as Dydimous, meaning "twin". The idea of twin reminds me that I can be two people - both a doubting person and a believing person at the same time. In my doubts, a community of faith can help me see the Truth, and not let doubt destroy me.

I liked what Michael Yaconelli said of Thomas in his book Dangerous Wonder (oh, that Mike were still alive to write more wonder-full books!). Thomas asked a lot of questions. He had a childlike curiosity. During the last supper, Jesus assured the disciples they knew where He was going. Thomas, just like a questioning child ... "where?", "why?" ...

Thomas missed seeing Jesus after the Crucifixion. Thomas wasn't satisfied with just seeing Jesus, he wanted more. He wanted to touch Jesus, embrace Him! I don't see Thomas as doubting. I see him as longing for Jesus. I thirst, hunger, and long for more of Jesus too.

"Curiosity is a hunger of the soul, and because Thomas was strong and courageous and spoke bluntly, he was daring enough to ask tough questions. He was not refusing to believe, he was refusing to settle for secondhand faith. Thomas was driven to know truth--to mingle with it, wrestle with it, become intimate with it." Mike wrote.

On Thomas's calendar day I remind myself Jesus wants me to live as a child - curious, daring, reckless, adventurous ... Not asking questions just for information, but for relationship.

July 2, 2008

Desmond Tutu Quote

Since I've mentioned this sentiment several times lately I just had to add Desmond Tutu's quote -

"The good news is that God loves me long before I could have done anything to deserve it."
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