Archive for January, 2014

Dziadzia with princess

I am curator of granddaughter Amy’s  away-from-home art gallery. Almost every time she visits us, she has “something I made for you” to give grandma and dziadzia.

Amy draws in hearts and rainbows and sparkles. Her hearts come in many versions and she has a sense of how precious they are to us when we receive them. She gives them over graciously.


We have a large side-by-side refrigerator and we need it for space to hang her art. I am pretty sure she checks it out when she comes to know that I am current with her postings.


One day, I was coloring with Amy at her house and she said she was going to color a story for me. This is the story of grandma and Amy out on a nice walk together after a rainstorm. A rainbow has appeared in the sky and low and behold there is dziadzia, pencilled in under the rainbow, peeking at us to see where we are going.

You can immediately distinguish Amy from grandma through her detail. Grandma has the head of white hair!


Hearts and flowers….joy and expectancy….a rainbow to cover all endings and holding hands to add warmth and companionship. That is the story of our lives. A good story.


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I get them quite frequently. Lessons in letting go. Some are pretty tough either on the ego or simply on my stubborn will.

Others are just ones to notice. Letting go of the beautiful Christmas flower, the poinsettia is one of the ones I notice each year.

It’s like the yearly Christmas decoration I can’t avoid missing when I put away the holiday season for a year. I always miss one. It is usually in plain sight. This year, it was the jingle bell silver and red candy cane that hung on our entrance closet door. Right in plain sight. Right in front of our “sitting chairs”. But no, everything was put away, packed and trotted down stairs to the basement by the time I saw it.

It is not like there are a lot of things to put away and therefore missing one is quite understandable. No, the same old and few decorations come out each year, and one year soon it may get down to the table top already-decorated Christmas tree and the poinsettia plant. Merry Christmas to all.

It is now the end of January and I am working on putting out our poinsettia plant. In my mind, that is. On the other hand, I keep watering it and arranging the leaves that are still red and evidence of continuing life.

Each year I put off buying mine until the week before Christmas, even though they are for sale much earlier than that. Maybe I ought to switch over to buying them earlier to extend their shelf life in my home. I love seeing them join the presence of the baby Jesus manager on the altar and what they add to the liturgies and celebrations of the Christmas time season up to the Epiphany. Then they seem to disappear quickly from sight as a new church year calendar continues into “ordinary time.”

In the public square and restaurants where they featured a prominent presence, they disappear even faster than that.

The Virgin Islands are breathtakingly beautiful. My parents lived there in the  late 1960s and into the  ’70s. One of the most beautiful sights, along with the Caribbean views from high atop a mountain hillside where their condo was — were the poinsettia bushes growing freely and naturally all around their home and property.

There was no “throw-out” season for them there. They lived and bloomed and gave their beauty at will, returned to their green leaf stage and waited patiently and quietly to announce the next Christmas season in brilliant red from their rich island soil.

We are having a quite snowy and blustery, minus-zero temperatures kind of winter here and actually just about everywhere across our land. I was about to take our poinsettia and set it in the cold garage, ready for Tuesday’s garbage pickup.

But it is only Saturday.

Instead, it only got as far as the laundry room. I retrieved it back to my center island in the kitchen and gave it some fresh water. I will leave it there in the comfort of the house until Monday evening when I will take it out.

Then, I will let it go.

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Such faithful companions my journals have become and a it is a joy to look back upon them. In them, I find courage, fears faced and not faced, triumphs that didn’t look like triumph at the time. In them, I find an awed sense of “I wonder how I knew that then.”

In them, I find patterns and deserts, wastelands and green pastures. In them, I find the many, many paths I have walked. In them, I find the wisdom of my guides, human and Spirit. In them, I find the passage of my time and my place upon this earth.

In them, I find deep breath. In them, I find acceptance. In them, I find images and quotes from others that inspire and please me. In them, I find the comfort of my own words and thoughts. In my journals, I find written words for what I could not verbally express at critical moments in time.

My journals are my all-time best seller classic writings of my life.

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angel food cake

The birthday dates of January 2014 have come and gone. January 2, my 71st birthday was enjoyed in a rather simple, quiet style. It is the day most other folks get back to “life as usual” after the holiday celebrations and the frequent occasions for festivities and food. A heart-warming return to schedules, dismantling the decorations and tree and ordinary living seems to be on most minds. Trying to remember exactly WHAT day it is heads the top of my list, when every other day seems to be like a Monday to me.

January 4th is my father’s birthday; he would have been 99 this year. Happy Birthday, dad. Jan. 6, just four days after my birth, mom Doris died, and so I wish her a very heavenly birthday. Each year, I contemplate the different facets surrounding the time of my birth, which include leading up to the life-threatening realities for my mom, the birth of new life to my father and maternal grandmother, my dad’s birthday in the midst of the trauma, and his loss of his love within two more days.

It is not quite the common, uncomplicated look-back upon a grace-filled event such as your own birth. But through the years, I have found a grace in all that was, is and will be through our continued heritage of children and grandchildren. And I am grateful.

We celebrated by going out for a free birthday dinner at a local restaurant where I enjoyed a magnificent Michigan Cherry Chicken salad and greens. We enjoyed some serene sunset glimpses on the way into town.


This reminded me of some of the words to Suz Ogden’s “On The Wings of Prayer” song and I found myself singing some of the words:

“When the light of day is fading
Rejoice before you rest.
Cherish the light of each moment

Embrace the days one by one
Give praise to the Creator
Find peace when your day is done.

Fear neither storm nor darkness
Knowing you’ve done your best.”

That’s a pretty good birthday song and I am grateful for the peace found in my days, the lessening of fear, and the general feeling that in most instances, I am doing my best. And each day, as the Benedictines say, “Each day, I begin anew.” That all feels pretty good.

birthday night sunset

My mom, Marion, made a most wonderful birthday gift for me, by my request, as far back as I can remember. She made her old-fashion recipe of Angel Food Cake for my birthday cakes. It was my very most favorite cake of all. She made it from scratch, with the aluminum cake pan that had the insert that came out and the tabs at the top for proper cooling after removing from the oven. I wish I still had her pan.

angel food cake pan

Then mom made the best tasting thin, thin, thin, confectioner sugar icing to go on top of the cake and drizzle down over the sides. I don’t think I’ve ever duplicated that, but it just made it superb. I had a hard time not running my fingers along the pooled frosting at the bottom of the cake. And actually when no one was looking, I did do it.

angel food cake with icing

I just love mom for making those cakes for so many years. This year, I really got to obsessing about this cake. I don’t have a pan and didn’t get out to buy one, but I thought I would make one for myself. Instead, the day passed as quickly as the whole darn year of being 70 seemed to have passed, and I didn’t do it.

But a couple days later, as I was picking up a few things, with impending storm warnings blaring from all media sources, I happened past the bakery part of Meijer’s and they had a semi-tall, semi-homemade angel food cake I helped myself to. I frosted it with a thin glaze, and walah!

Not AS good, but a sense of both my earthly and heavenly mom was there as I enjoyed more than my share of angel food cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The little girl in me partied.

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The Michigan State University Spartans are in the Rose Bowl! Go right through for MSU. Watch the points keep growing.

I love a parade and it was spectacular to watch the MSU Marching Band march down Colorado Boulevard in the 125th Rose Bowl Parade. The majestic Clysdales have gone by. The Queen and her Court have presented their renown arm wave to the crowd. They were beautiful and I know Amy would love their sparkly gowns.


But the unmistakable sound of the MSU Marching Band was my true head-turner. Here they come! A scramble to get in front of the TV. Tom and I are “wearing the green” today. We are ready for V I C T O R Y!  Gotta get the ham in the oven.


The thrill of it for the college kids and families that are treating themselves to this rare life experience. I can only imagine.



Now, I’m looking for Sparty! The announcers said he was a great representative and ambassador for what this is all about, being all over the place pre-parade time. We know he is just that. He was here in the Do-Dah Parade and Tom and I marched with him!

Sue & Sparty


Sue & Tom - Kazoo Spartans


We are so happy to see our team back in Pasadena after a long wait since the late 1980s. I am particularly happy for Coach Dantonio, who has identified, found and formed this winning team into being the tough competitors that they are. His challenges of heart health and the loss of his father within recent years are in the background of a man who put one foot in front of the other, and who built not only a rugged, determined team of football players, but also a man who built up within himself a stronger buttress of personal faith and built a deep pocket of trust and acceptance with God.

So, the fact that he has a successful football team comes as no great surprise to me.

Go Green! Go White!



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2014 Courage & Passion

I Am One on fire with courage and sacred purpose. I Am One who explodes in excitement and passion. I Am One who companions you through the history of time. I Am One who is your butterfly of co-creation and transformation. I bring you through difficult passages safely and wisely.

I Am the Determined One. I Am One who sees and brings forth goodness.

I want you to know that the wonder of you exceeds the number of all the sands of the earth and your beauty compares with the gemstones of all eternity.

I want you to remember your strength within is founded in the rock-solid minerals of the earth created through the fiery explosion and union of Spirit and humankind.

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