Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why blog?

I blog because my life is perfect and I cannot wait to share my how-tos with the world.

Uh . . . .


I blog even though life is very imperfect.  Not to cover up the imperfections, or to pretend they don't exist.  Not to deny that I face certain anxieties about the state of the world, or to pretend that they don't exist.  Instead, blogging (for me) is about making a concerted effort to put my own positive mark on the world.  I suspect it's the same for others out there.

Blogging, both writing my own and reading others', provides a bit of healthy escapism.  In posting pretty photos, in sharing stories, never in a million years am I trying to tell the world I'm perfect, my life is perfect, and aren't I wonderful.  Never in a million years do I think that the people who keep the blogs that are amongst my favorites are trying to convince us they are perfect.

I do not understand it, when I see criticism leveled at (mostly) women who share photos of their homes, their children, their gardens.  There are very talented and creative people out there.  Rejoice!

Why are people so offended by the little attempts people make to share beauty with the world?

I had an acquaintance about two decades ago who was inexplicably intimidated by Martha Stewart.  So much so, whenever anyone made any attempt to do something simple to make the world a prettier place, she'd roll her eyes and say, "Oh, how Martha Stewart!"  When at a coffee shop, our whipped cream was topped with a dusting of cocoa,  "Oh, how Martha Stewart!"  I'm still not sure what's pretentious about dusting whipped cream with cocoa, but I'm guessing she must have been facing insecurities about herself, if she felt the need to belittle others' attempts at small efforts to make things pretty.  That's sad, because if she'd served me cocoa at her house without the dusting of cocoa or even without the whipped cream, I'm not sure I'd even notice.

I've noticed this same thing about blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, and the like.  There's a certain segment of society that is very offended by anyone who shares their poetry, photography, or physical activity on the internet.  I've even stumbled upon entire websites devoted to being snarky about some of the superbloggers out there.  (Gee, what a waste of time!) 

[Mind you, this does NOT apply to Pinterest Fail. That is a truly hilarious website.  Maybe it's the difference between an attitude of "I don't think I could ever make anything pretty, bake anything lovely, write inspiring poetry so I shall mock anyone else who does" and an attitude of "I do enjoy 'Better Homes & Gardens,' but I certainly have my limitations!"]

Life is imperfect, messy, and sometimes anxiety-producing.  Sing songs, write poetry, plant flowers anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Posting after a bit of a pause . . .

There has been a lot going on lately that has kept me from this blog.  Not even 7 Quick-Take Fridays!  When I miss out on posting my takes on Fridays, it means I'm also too busy to check in with others.  And I miss those connections, even if they aren't technically connections because I don't even leave comments at most of the places I visit.  Still, I follow along with the life journeys, the random thoughts, and the photo essays of men and women all around the (English-speaking) planet.

Tiresome apologies for blogging - in which a busy mother of a handful of kids will NOT apologize for keeping a blog.  It's a great post and I identified with what she had to share even though my blog is very small and unambitious.  Here's my favorite part of that link:
Blogs for sure -- but even Twitter and Facebook and whatever comes after those -- I know I am really connecting with real people.  Yes, I have a family.  Yes, I have responsibilities.  You have jobs and I have jobs.  And yet, making time for each other to meet one on one -- it's not just allowable; it's good.  Intellectual life is not something we must fit in the crevices of our "real" lives.  It is in some ways the realest life we have, the life of human beings being human together in the world of knowing and expressing.

Just so!  I remember ten years ago, when it was just blogs because there wasn't Facebook or Twitter.  Yes, I use Facebook and Twitter, but I miss the days when dialogue wasn't limited to 140 characters. Even if all a blogger does is post a photo, or one paragraph, the blog is more welcoming to me than FB or T. Because of that, I'm pressing on with this blog, even though I have been low on writing ideas whilst submerged with the odds and ends that make up life.

I do, indeed, shut down the computer to read to the toddler, take the kids to museums, or volunteer my time where it is needed.  But since the blogosphere is the place I turn to during my down time, when I need to sit down and find a few minutes of inspiration from people out there who like to cook, read, run, or garden - I will continue to toss my own pebble into the ocean of words, stories, and ideas.

Toss, toss!

(That's a Wicked joke, as well as a reference to tossing my pebbles.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nearly-wordless Wednesday

Another bunch of rabbit babies in our garden.  I suppose I am glad that we are such a hospitable place for wildlife, except that rabbits surprise us with their burrow.  I know that those babies were in danger from children and lawn mower before we knew they were there!

Yellow arrows show ears and tail.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

St. Teresa of Avila



May God our Lord be forever praised and blessed, amen, amen.
Interior Castle, Epilogue

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Each one of us has a soul, but since we do not prize souls as is deserved by creature made in the image of God we do not understand the deep secrets that lie in them.
Interior Castle VII, Chapter 1.1

Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.
Intro to the novena here.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Oh, human misery!  When, daughters, will we imitate this great God?  Oh, let us not think we are doing anything by suffering injuries, but we should very eagerly endure everything, and let us love the one who offends us since this great God has not ceased to love us even though we have offended Him very much.  Thus the Lord is right in wanting all to pardon the wrongs done to them.

Interior Castle VI, Chapter 10.4


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Let’s not think that everything is accomplished through much weeping but set our hands to the task of hard work and virtue.

Interior Castle VI, Chapter 6.9


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


The Lord asks of us only two things: love of His Majesty and love of our neighbor.  These are what we must work for.  By observing them with perfection, we do His will and so will be united with Him . . . The most certain sign, in my opinion, as to whether or not we are observing these two laws is whether we observe well the love of neighbor.

Interior Castle V, Chapter 3.7-8


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

 Intro to the novena here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

7QT: 7 from the 7th


Yes, this is also ST TERESA OF AVILA: NOVENA DAY FIVE.  Today is a break in the format in order to highlight 7 from the 7th: Seven Highlights from the Seventh Dwelling Place for 7 Quick-Takes Friday.

For those who clicked over from 7Quick Takes, this blog is in the middle of a novena in anticipation of the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, coming up on the 15th.  I am sharing quotations from Interior Castle for reflection during the novena; typically one thought per day, except for today.  Today features seven highlights from the seventh dwelling place of Interior Castle.

Each of the quick-takes is from Chapter 4 of Interior Castle VII, ICS edition.

~  ONE  ~
Mary and Martha must join together in order to show hospitality to the Lord and have Him always present and not host Him badly by failing to give Him something to eat.  How would Mary, always seated at His feet, provide Him with food if her sister did not help her?  His food is that in every way possible we draw souls that they may be saved and praise Him always. 
~  TWO  ~
The Lord doesn’t look so much at the greatness of our works as at the love with which they are done.  And if we do what we can, His Majesty will enable us each day to do more and more. 

~  THREE  ~
Do you know what it means to be truly spiritual?  It means becoming the slaves of God. 

~  FOUR  ~
This is the reason for prayer, my daughters, the purpose of this spiritual marriage:  the birth always of good works, good works. 

~  FIVE  ~
The one among you who feels safest should fear more, for blessed is the man who fears the Lord, says David.  May His Majesty protect us always.  To beseech Him that we not offend Him is the greatest security we can have.

~  SIX  ~
His Majesty couldn’t grant us a greater favor than to give us a life that would be an imitation of the life His beloved Son lived.  Thus I hold for certain that these favors are meant to fortify our weakness, as I have said here at times, that we may be able to imitate Him in His great sufferings.

~  SEVEN  ~
I already told you elsewhere that sometimes the devil gives us great desires so that we will avoid setting ourselves to the task at hand, serving our Lord in possible things, and instead be content with having desired the impossible.  Apart from the fact that by prayer you will be helping greatly, you need not be desiring to benefit the whole world but must concentrate on those who are in your company, and thus your deed will be greater since you are more obliged toward them.  Do you think such deep humility, your mortification, service of all and great charity toward them, and love of the Lord is of little benefit?  The fire of love in you enkindles their souls, and with every other virtue you will be always awakening them.  Such service will not be small but very great and very pleasing to the Lord.  By what you do in deed – that which you can – His Majesty will understand that you would do much more.  Thus He will give you the reward He would if you had gained many souls for Him. 

Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.


Thanks to Jennifer for hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday!


Intro to the novena here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Because I have spoken at length on this subject elsewhere, I will say nothing about it here.  I only wish to inform you that in order to profit by this path and ascend to the dwelling places we desire, the important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love.  Perhaps we don’t know what love is.  I wouldn’t be very surprised, because it doesn’t consist in great delight but in desiring with strong determination to please God in everything, in striving, insofar as possible, not to offend Him, and in asking Him for the advancement of the honor and glory of His Son and the increase of the Catholic Church.  These are the signs of love.  Don’t think the matter lies in thinking of nothing else, and that if you have become a little distracted all is lost.

Interior Castle IV, Chapter 1.7


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Perfection as well as its reward does not consist in spiritual delights but in greater love and in deeds done with greater justice and truth.

Interior Castle III, Chapter 2.10


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer – and don’t forget this, because it’s very important – should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every possible effort to bring his will into conformity with God’s will.

Interior Castle II, Chapter 1.8


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Let’s strive to make more progress in self-knowledge.  In my opinion we shall never completely know ourselves if we don’t strive to know God.  By gazing at His grandeur, we get in touch with our own lowliness; by looking at His purity, we shall see our own filth; by pondering His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble.
Interior Castle I, Chapter 2.9


Click here for St. Teresa of Avila novena prayers.

Intro to the novena here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

St. Teresa of Avila: Novena Preparation


One Carmelite Feast Day on top of another!  St. Therese had her novena and Feast Day noted on this blog.  Now it is St. Teresa of Avila’s turn.

Tomorrow will begin the first day for anyone wishing to pray a novena leading up to St. Teresa’s Feast Day on October 15.  I will be posting quotations from St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle.  The edition from which I take my quotes is the ICS version.  

Such a rich treasure is Interior Castle.  It was difficult to find highlights to share because there are so many jewels in this work.  I state the obvious.

I shall not post the traditional novena prayers here.  Such novenas are found everywhere.  I reference this novena from the Meditations from Carmel website. 

Please join me during the novena.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

St. Therese of Lisieux


Lisieux Carmel

I feel especially that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved as I love Him, of giving my little way to souls.  If God answers my desires, my heaven will be spend on earth until the end of the world.  Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.