I think I’ve saved one…

Simon brought two “gifts” this a.m. –

One was a bird, already dead. The other was – is – this little fellow, still very much alive

UPDATE: I held on to Wittle Bunny Wabbit for about half an hour (I guess the photo isn’t that good, but I couldn’t loosen my hold on him or he’d have jumped straight into Simon’s cluthces again!). Last time Simon brought me a live “love offering,” it died pretty fast from its injuries. This time I – and Baby Bunny – were lucky. After Simon got tired of waiting for me to GIVE IT BACK! he went out on the deck. I carried Bun out to some wild grape vines in the back yard and released him. He took off leaping like a champ!

I asked St Francis to keep him out of harm’s way.

Photo 90

A community in grief – pray for us

Sunday morning, I was iChatting with a friend in Texas when both of us heard the siren. I watched a sheriff’s deputy come up the road in front of my house. He had to be going at least 100 m.p.h.  We wondered where he could be going, and we said a prayer for the situation.

A couple hours later, looking for weather, I found out where he had been going. A lone gunman had gone into one of our area nursing homes. At that time, six people were dead; later, two more died. Most of the victims were elderly patients of the nursing home – the oldest was 98 years old. One RN, a former Coast Guardsman, age 39, was also killed.

The gunman was stopped when one Carthage police officer, Justin Garner, came after him, unassisted, and shot him. The officer sustained three wounds to his left foot and leg; he was treated and released from our local hospital, although he’ll still have to have some outpatient surgery, we’re told, to complete his recovery. Robert Stewart, the gunman, is in custody; his injuries are not life-threatening.

WRAL television in Raleigh has done a decent job of covering this event. I’ve been watching the news briefings with the chief of police in Carthage and the county District Attorney.

Our community is simply stunned. This is not the sort of thing that happens here. When Chief Chris McKenzie was asked how many police officers were on duty, Sunday morning, there was a bit of shock registered when he said, “Two.” But then he went on to say, for the community of approximately 2,000 residents, “This is a community built on faith. On Sunday morning, everyone’s in church.”

In his first interview with the press about the incident, McKenzie, who is a local, said, “This is a community based on faith, and faith will see us through this.”

On days like this –

Some days it’s hard to remember that God cares about the minutiae of our lives, like our names, or how many hairs are on our heads, or the common ordinary tasks that make up our lives.

No water here at the Farm today. I went to wash up the kitchen, nothing. Cousin came out, wrangled the very heavy lid to the well up,  crawled inside (after using a stick to clean out the spiderwebs – I have black widows in there).

Bad switch. It’s just gone “poof!” He’s gone to town to pick up a new one. No idea how much it costs, which has me very much on edge. I have an interview next week to pick up another piano family, but money is tight this month, to say the absolute least of it.  A few inches gained, then knocked back a couple yards.

I keep telling myself, I’ve weathered worse! but the older I get the less resilient I find myself when meeting these challenges. I wasn’t raised to this kind of self-reliance, and it’s not my nature; I’m not one of those women who can just roll forward without timidity in these crises. Sickness, death, disappointments? I can face those and hold your hand when they come to you – but these very practical mechanical details of daily living leave me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

On the positive side – the weather is mild, although cold (for us) is forecast for the next few days. Sun’s peeking out a bit, which is a plus.

And I’m really, really pleased to be working on Deliberate Engagement. It’s been a bit time-consuming, but things are stabilizing, I think (?) and settling into a steadier pace. Matt’s a joy to work with. Read his page on Debate to get a glimpse of why I respect him so much and feel privileged to get to work with him. I pray that our efforts can make a concrete difference in this part of the culture wars.

Keep praying for us, please.

Update: the switch cost less than $20 – I am breathing again.

Family Gathering

One cousin is here from Georgia, another from Alabama, so last night we had the big family dinner. I think I counted 35 of us, from one month to… however old Jack is!  The cousins have held on to the homeplace because it’s the only place big enough for everyone to gather, and the house was nearly bursting at the seams.

The food is always excellent. My cousins are good cooks, Olympic-class competitive cooks – and as one’s husband observed, this fall, each of them cooks as if she were the only one providing the food for the entire gathering. There was ham and turkey, dressing and gravy, several different kinds of sweet potatoes (casserole and candied), creamed white potatoes with bacon bits and cheese, broccoli casserole, plain vegetables from the summer garden (beans, butterbeans, corn), potato salad, macaroni salad, several different platters of deviled eggs, a cabbage salad, homemade pickles, Judy’s sourdough loaf bread and rolls – all extending the whole length of kitchen counters, around the sink and reaching the far end of the “U” at the stovetop. Desserts were arranged on the back porch, on top of the deep chest freezer.

There were the usual jokes about how many helpings this cousin had gone back for – or that one needing sideplanks to hold the food steady on his plate. The girls blushed over the breach of diets so carefully followed all year long –

There was talk about how old various children and grandchildren now are – and as one pointed out to lots of laughter at ourselves, “They’re all one year older than they were when we discussed this last year!”

The newest baby is barely a month old. He was less than a week old when we all gathered at Thanksgiving, so this event was his debut into the larger family circle. I got to hold him for a while, as his mama checked on the older boys’ dinner plates. I got to hold the next littlest, now almost three months old, who tried so hard to talk to me as I held her! Holding little babies always tugs at my heart – I’d love to have another one, even at my advanced and decrepit age!

I got to visit a bit with the cousin who drove in for the day from the western part of the state, and share what a precious experience it is to be a “home-mommy” – she’s on leave from her teaching job as an experiment this year. She’s bucking a social expectation of women, and I’m proud of her for having the courage of conviction to follow her heart to be with her children just now – as I’m proud for another of the cousins for their decision to allow God to plan their family.

I think that was part of the very best of it, sharing hearts and minds in those traditional values that have made our family so strong and resilient over the years, in the face of varied sorrows. My family, although not (yet) Catholic, are grounded and rooted, fed and watered, on Christian faith. It was a good way to grow up, and they’re all quite close, even now after Mama and Daddy have gone on, and their own children grown.

The anchor still holds.

Christmas Domestic Pleasures

Yesterday, I went into the yard and trimmed several twigs from the wild holly growing there. I’ve never seen so many berries on this tree! it’s beautiful! and I came inside and took a piece of foam and stuck the twigs all around it. It isn’t as balanced and as elegant an arrangement as my cousins Jane and Carol Dean would make, but it’s quite satisfying for a first-time arrangement of my own. It is set in front of my long living room window, where the afternoon light makes it seem almost to glow.

I decided not to spend the money on a Christmas tree again this year. After all, I’m alone and the cat doesn’t care. But I’ve poured the white and gold balls into a cut glass bowl and set it in the living room. I will string the fairy lights around the kitchen window over the sinks, and probably in the bathrooms around the mirrors. The wreath Stephanie made for me last year is too dear to go on the front door, where rain leaks down and would damage it, so I got a cup hook and hung it just inside the back door, where it is the first thing I see when I come into the house.The nativity scenes are set out, as are the candles and a couple of unusual ornaments that give me pleasure.

If any friends should show up on my door step, unexpectedly, a pleasant and cheerful, albeit modest, home awaits them. I am contented.

Thank you, Catholics For Obama


The Obama team is promising to undo all of President George W. Bush’s initiatives to limit and to curtail abortion services in the U.S. – from federal funding to abortion to eliminating the current effort to secure rights of conscience for health care providers.

The memo alluded to in the above link (I can’t find the embedded link option yet, but I will!) indicates that the writers of the 55-page memo on the abortion rights game plan are dismayed that their plans have been made public at Change-DOT-Gov; however, we knew this was coming for a darn long time.

All you Catholics who voted for this man – you knew he was going to advocate on behalf of abortion. And you whine “Bush hasn’t done anything to advance the pro-life cause, so what difference does it make?”

Yeah. Bush’s work has to be nullified and overturned, according to the Obama team – If he’d done nothing, there’d be nothing to oppose or “correct,” now, would there?

I find it hard to forgive you for this, you liberals who voted for Obama. I find it very hard indeed. You’ve sided with the Enemy, you’ve betrayed your Faith. You’ve stood among us as wolves in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be faithful Catholics while actively promoting what is inherent evil, not even to begin to discuss the implications of implicit evil that are promised with this administration.

Do you not realize you have materially cooperated with Evil in empowering a man whose Agenda is rife with Evil?

Kyrie eleison.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Does this mean I can start playing Chriatmas music now?

Actually, I’ve been singing Christmas music for weeks! – Chorale prep, you know.

Last night was the first performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Carolina Ballet. First time I’ve done it with them, but this is a long-standing tradition with the Master Chorale.

I have to admit, the thought of a major religious oratorio like Messiah being choreographed to ballet seemed a bit like sacrilege, but I was so very impressed. The dance moves, the costuming – everything was well-integrated into the textual elements of the work. The ballet is appropriate, compatible, joyful and reverent, from the first prophetic arias (our tenor and bass actually perform those arias of Part One on stage with the dancers!) to the final glorious “Amen!” where the Messiah Ascends into Heaven (with the help of a cable).

We’re in the orchestra pit, so we had to be broken up into mini-choirs for the weekend. I’m back on tap for Saturday’s matinee, and I’m really looking forward to it!

Meantime – y’all enjoy the turkey, and don’t forget to really thank God for all His blessings and provisions to you and yours.

The Simple Woman Daybook

FOR TODAY September 15, 2008
Outside My Window... The cat, Simon, is lying in the grass. I’m glad of this; at 2:00 a.m. he had brought me an almost-dead frog…. lying in the grass is much better

I am thinking
… of some of the women I’ve met on FlyLady who carry such burdens of fear and doubt and sorrow – and how frustrated I am at my impotence to help.

I am thankful for…the approach of Fall, and cooler weather – new piano student this week – good med test results last night –

From the kitchen…sweet potato muffins!

I am wearing…black tank top, white slacks, lace-up “trainers” and socks. And my glasses.

I am creating
… beauty and order in my home using the FlyLady routines! YEA!

I am going…to get a haircut soon.

I am reading...True Devotion to Mary by Louis de Montford (for Christian Spirituality), Church History by Fr. Laux and A Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter (for Historical Foundations)

I am hoping...to pick up an additional two piano students this week

I am hearing…the ceiling fan clicking on its cycles, and the small fan on the desk whirring. Radio hasn’t gone on yet; I’ve discovered it anaesthetizes me too thoroughly.

Around the house.
..It’s Monday! Home Blessing Hour – dark clothes are hanging to dry, whites are filing the washer as I come across them. I have a bit to vacuum and dust, then I start my Zone 3 – the front room which will again by my study by the end of the week. (I think)

One of my favorite things
…if the way the air smells now. We’ve had a lot of rain the past couple weeks, and I think it’s causing the pine needles to start to break down – the air is so full of that sweetly sharp pine fragrance, and a hint of sweet of rotting wild grapes… I often feel restless here in this place, but I have to admit the changing seasons bring about sensory delights I’ve never encountered anywhere else. Compensations, I suppose?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Tomorrow I go for a haircut and (maybe) a pedicure at the high school, then on to Raleigh where I’ll stop by the music store for music for my new student – and chorale practice! Also, I’ve gotten behind on my school schedule, so I’ll be spending a lot of time listening to lectures, taking notes on the computer, and READING til I’m crosseyed! (Oh! – I have some winter vegs to set out in my veg bed, too)

Here is picture thought I am sharing
…drawn by my friend “Angela Messenger



So grateful to Mary Rose for introducing me to this – you can find the original here

Outside My Window
The sun is streaming pale yellow through the scrub oak. The air has a glowing quality to it unique to this time of year, as fall approaches. Summer morning suns are direct and bold; this morning light is gentle and serene.

I am thinking
what I need to do today.

I am thankful for
Hanna didn’t cause much trouble here. None for me, little for our community (we live away from flood risk)

From the kitchen...
Fresh-sliced peaches with homemade yogurt for breakfast!

I am wearing
A new pair of sandals I’m trying to break in (it’s working)- and a sweet white lightweight cotton top, reminiscent of an 18th-century bodice, lined around the neckline with lace. and shorts.

I am creating
My to-do list for today, so I don’t forget the essentials

I am going
I hope nowhere today!

I am reading
A variety of books for school, especially on Church History. Sneaking in a chapter here and there of Sense & Sensibility

I am hoping
That rehearsal goes well tomorrow, and that what I dread will not come to pass.

I am hearing
window fan, crickets, a blue jay

Around the house
It’s Monday – I’m about to go commence my Home Blessing Hour: remake my bed, dust & vacuum the bedroom, sweep the main bath, wipe down fixtures (a bit more detailed than Swish & Swipe) – get ready for tomorrow. STUDY.

One of my favorite things
Is the way the sunlight is streaming through the pines and the scrub oaks.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
check the grape vines. Get to the Dr. to have that glucose tolerance test run. Work in the garden so my neighbor can plow it for me. Plant some collards & broccoli.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

testing, testing…

Anyway, the photo for the post is the American Beautyberry, which is something I’m looking at from my window. No, it’s not mine – I can’t find the cable to my camera! (grrrr…) but it’s the same plant, so I thought I’d post it in lieu of my personal beautyberry bush photo.