September 2022

The Swing

I used to always say, “Mother feels best when everyone’s in the nest.”  Well, nowadays the nest has been mostly empty which is mostly good, but there are still lots of times when I am restless and worry about all of my “birdies”.

My youngest used to sit on the backyard swing for hours at a time.  She helped her dad rebuild the swing section of the outdoor play set because she has loved to swing and rock since Day One, plus these days she likes to build things and use power tools. When she was little, she had a green plastic rocking horse we had to take everywhere she went for the first few years of her life until she no longer fit on it.  Now, swinging is still her comfort but also her thinking and alone time (and even sing-on-the-swing time).

It would often aggravate me how much time she would spend out on that swing, even in the cold and rain, even during her college summers.  But recently when I looked at that swing from my kitchen window, I was sad to see it sitting idle and I thought of the song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary and it melted me to tears.  How I wished she was still sitting out there.  Memories of days gone by flooded over me.

Jackie Paper, the boy in the song, visits Puff the Magic Dragon by the sea and they have imaginary adventures together until one day, “Jackie Paper came no more”.  He grew up.  The dragon was sad, just like this mama.  But alas, as necessary, I did my job. 

Mama may feel best when everyone is in the nest, but they can’t stay there. There is an entire world to explore. They fly away as they should. 

By the looks of that empty swing, it appears my youngest birdie has successfully flown out of the nest, soon to graduate from college.  It’s a bittersweet time that moves me to tears and emotion as I write this.  But all mamas have been there, in the land of Honah Lee, just like Puff. 


I find it interesting the way people receive gifts differently.  Maybe this stems from my grandmother sobbing whenever she received a present.  She would insist, “I don’t need anything for my last three days.”  As a child, this always confused and frightened me.  I felt dejected because she did not receive my gifts happily.  Perhaps she felt unworthy.   As the years went by, we all just stopped giving her gifts.  How sad.

I used to make a lot of handmade gifts for family and friends.  It was very disappointing that after spending many hours on these items, they often were not fully appreciated.  I could have used that time in other ways.

Some people actually return gifts back to the giver or criticize the gift!  Others always have to be “even”.   Still others have a sense of entitlement or are completely ungrateful and would never even think to send a thank you note. While yet others are meticulous about always sending a thank you in the mail, which is becoming increasingly rare with modern technology.   Some receive gifts graciously and without emotion so you can never tell if they like the gift or not.  Not much fun to give these types a gift.

The most ideal gift receiving style is reflected in those that love to receive gifts and can’t hold back their excitement, no matter what kind of gift, whether material, or gifts of time or talent.  Just observe a child at their birthday party or at Christmas!  They love being the center of attention and opening all those gifts!  No feelings of unworthiness there.  It reminds me of when the sinful woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus. (Luke 7:36-47)  He graciously received her gift and forgave her sins, admonishing the Pharisees.  Also, when Jesus was born He received gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh from the Magi.  (Matt 2:11)  Later, at the Last Supper, Jesus broke bread and gave thanks. (Mark 14:22-24)

In order to instill a sense of gratitude in our children, we teach them to say “thank you” when they receive a gift and then to send a handwritten note.  I vividly remember the time my Catholic school nun read the Bible story of the ten lepers to us.  (Luke 17:11-19)   It really struck me that ONLY ONE, returned to say thank you to Jesus for being healed.   How tragic.  What a tremendous gift they were given, yet only ONE was truly grateful!

I think most of us would rather give gifts to the people that are open to receiving them and get excited and show some form of gratitude.  If we are open to receiving gifts, it seems more gifts will come our way.  People who feel unworthy or ungrateful miss a lot of gifts and opportunities like my grandmother did. 

But none of this compares with the ultimate gift of Jesus dying on the cross for us.  He gave the gift of Himself, so that we could have eternal life even though none of us are worthy of this immense gift.  How many of us would give up our very lives for another?  How do we thank Him for this most precious gift?

So let us be more aware of the gifts we receive each day.  From waking up in the morning, to the food we eat and the people we love, living life with an openness to the gifts around us, never forgetting to give thanks.    


St. Patrick’s Day, 2009

Today I learned that people are fragile, just like kites. Easily torn and broken.

It was an unseasonably warm, almost spring kind of day. The wind was fairly strong, as is typical in March. My youngest daughter, who seemed to have a flair for physics, had been constructing homemade kites out of tissue paper, popsicle sticks and tin foil. Her artistic side added beautiful ribbons and bows for tails, but the kites didn’t really fly all too well, even when she stood on the picnic table to help them along. So alas, I journeyed to the store in search of kites.

I found some colorful kites of varying shapes and sizes in the toy department at the store, and my four kids were excited to try them out right away. Unfortunately, we were so impatient we made the mistake of trying to fly them in front of the house where there were lots of trees.

My youngest had the grand idea of flying her kite while riding her bike. That turned into a big tangled mess in the bike spokes, chain and handlebars resulting in her crying and running into the house.

Meanwhile, one of her older sisters and my son were doing a pretty good job navigating their kites around the trees, when my other daughter got hers stuck so badly in the tree that it took a ladder and a pole saw to chop off the entire branch the kite was stuck in! And so another child ran into the house crying!

What a nightmare it was! I was left feeling like the worst ogre mother in the universe because needless to say, I was not taking all of this very well. Who knew kites could provoke so much emotion!

Just like kites, life can become a tangled mess. We can easily become torn and broken. We can get stuck, waiting for someone to rescue us like a kite out of a tree. We must hold the kite tightly to anchor it or it will blow off into the wind like a loose balloon with no destiny.

So the question becomes, what is our anchor when life gets all tangled up and messy? Is it in Christ who holds us tightly if we let Him? Or do we run to something else that is not lasting or another flawed human who cannot possibly fill all our needs?

With a lot of patience and no obstructions, a kite will soar and fly beautifully, but that can only happen if it is anchored in someone’s skilled hand.

To this day, many years later, I still feel sad about how badly I handled that March day. It didn’t turn out all happy and delightful like the song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” in the movie Mary Poppins, but it is important to learn from our mistakes and move on and fly high, just like kites are supposed to do.

Trusting God

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Having been on pregnancy bedrest with triplets, I have had to trust God like never before. I could eat nutritiously, follow the doctor’s orders, pray, but I really had no control over the outcome.

My constant prayer for myself and the three fragile lives inside me was, “Every breath is from you, O Lord.”

Fortunately, I had a happy ending to this story and my triplets just turned 25! Yet I often wonder, what if things had not turned out so well? Would I have been able to continue to trust in God’s goodness? And do I choose to humbly trust Him still? Back then I didn’t have much choice…….the babies were going to come out of my body in some way or another. But trusting God didn’t stop there. It is a constant struggle and in fulfilling my call to motherhood, I have had plenty of opportunities to learn to trust God over the years!

During the recent pandemic I have been further challenged to trust God in all things and found myself going back to my prayer from over 25 years ago, “Every breath is from you, O Lord”. While the world around me lived in fear, for the most part I was trusting God and not worried about illness. I was much more worried about the loss of freedom, the tyranny and all the economic and psychological damage from the promotion of fear over faith, shockingly even from most churches. It was as if fear had become a virtue which is not truth. God is in charge of every breath we take, from the first to the last, not any human being, the government or the church.

I don’t know what new challenges lie ahead for me in life, but my struggle to trust God is difficult and ongoing. All too often I find myself choosing fear over faith. Sometimes we have done all we can or know how to do and need to give the rest to God. I am glad His goodness and love is unchanging. And so I conclude with the words on the Divine Mercy image of Jesus as seen through the eyes of St. Faustina, “Jesus, I trust in You.”


God and Curtains


What does God have to do with curtains?  Well, I’ll tell you.

I dropped the kids off at school, cleaned the bathroom, and decided to hang the gold curtain panels I had bought for our new home.  I found the curtains in the clearance pile at Wal-Mart for $5.00 per panel!  A steal!  I needed 6 panels, which totaled $30.00 compared to a custom curtain quote of $1,600! 

I wanted the floor length size and there were only 3 packs left but one pack was a shorter length.   I figured I have 3 windows, for this price I’ll make it work.  As it turns out it was a blessing in disguise because the shorter panels looked much better on the main window anyway.  It was too good to be true. The color looked great with the barn red walls and the price was unbeatable.  I felt like I was a good steward of our finances.

I was so excited, I whispered, “Gee Lord, it seems like you have blessed me with these curtains for some reason, why would you care about curtains?”  And He immediately seemed to respond, “because you care about Me.”  Whoa!  I wasn’t really expecting an answer!

I used to watch Joyce Meyer, a television preacher and author, and she would speak about being “anointed to shop”.  I always could relate to that. I sure was “anointed” to shop for those curtains!

The whole experience got me thinking about how we can find God in all the little things that happen each day and talk to Him as we go about whatever we are doing.  Nothing is too insignificant for our Creator that loves us, not even curtains.  He meets all our needs.  God will come to us wherever we are.  Drawing us to Himself, communing with us, loving us, blessing us, surprising us, filling us with joy.  Yes, even furnishing us with curtains!

Further, it occurred to me there is even some significance to the curtains being gold.  Gold is associated with riches, blessing.  It’s a precious metal that’s been around through the centuries.  The first place Olympic medal is gold.  Gold is used in jewelry and wedding rings.  It symbolizes royalty.  One of the gifts the Christ child, the King of Kings, was given, was gold.   I looked up “gold” in my small Bible concordance.  Wow!  There are more entries for “gold” than most other words!  Starting in Genesis through to Revelation, gold is mentioned.

So it was as if God gave me a golden gift of curtains, but even better, the gift of Himself and His presence in my day.  Reminding me that each one of us, our faith, our Jesus, are all infinitely more precious than gold.

I’ll never look at those curtains the same way again.  And it’s 2022 as I edit and post this, and those curtains are still hanging there, as gold as ever!

“Our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”

St. Augustine

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

Patrick Henry


I was gazing out my kitchen window as I was eating breakfast one morning after a summer rainfall.  The window didn’t have a screen at the time, but I decided to open it anyway.  I was amazed at the difference in the clarity of the view without the screen or the window glass!  The trees appeared clearer, the greens more vivid and bold.  Everything looked better and fresher after the cleansing rain.

From time to time in our lives we should “open a window” so to speak.  All too often we view the world through our particular screen and view life through our clouded experiences.  We screen out the things we don’t like and maybe even pull down the window shade!  Screens definitely have a purpose, they provide a filter against unwanted pests, but the trade-off is they can skew the clarity of the view.

It’s like rearranging the furniture in a room, we get a new perspective. Maybe a chair is in a new place in front of a different window view. We see things in a new way from a new angle. It’s good to do the same in our lives once in a while. Open the “window” and check out the view with an open mind. Maybe we will see something we didn’t before and will learn something new.

As it turned out, we spent extra money on a new screen for that window which provided a more “natural” view with less visual interference.  I highly recommend it!

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