Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

We went to Memorial Day Mass today at Holyrood Cemetery. Archbishop Sartain celebrated Mass and spoke about goodbyes. It means: God be with you.

The first Memorial Day service I went to was in Belgium. We lived for two years there in the Ardennes, while I did my post-doc work at the Max Plank Institute in Cologne, Germany and my husband worked in a machine tool factory in Andenne, Belgium. To see the places where fifty years ago these men and boys lost their lives and to see their graves made me appreciate their tremendous sacrifice. Before, Memorial Day was just a holiday with scant thought to the ones who have died so that we may have the freedom to live according to American ideals.

On the way to the cemetery we prayed the rosary. On the way back, we were listening to Matt Maher's album. And this is what I'm singing tonight: O death, where is your sting?

Listen to this song Christ is Risen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8QVwC6RWUc

God bless our armed forces. God bless America!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Owl and the Pussycat

I just came across this and have to share: http://wimp.com/catowl/

I can't believe May is almost over. I have just three weeks to complete a revision, and get through two ball tournaments, plus end-of-the-year school stuff. I'm looking forward to summer holidays.

But surprise, surprise. I got complimentary copies of Nature Friend, which reprinted my Surprise Squash story. Fun. I have all sorts of short stories bubbling up to the surface, but I have to be content to scribble them in my notebook. Novel revisions take priority right now.

Gee, this post feels like I'm telling myself to behave. But then again, I'm glad I give in to temptation sometimes. I just got a check for a shorty short book review to appear in the SCBWI Bulletin at a future date. Magazine writing rocks!

Oh, and anybody else obsessing over the Highlights Fiction Contest?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cautionary Tales?

Alas, I don't have a happy ending to the story unfolding in our backyard. The baby bird fell out of the nest and died. It was such a cutie, too, opening its mouth wide to be fed. I saw Mama making over a dozen trips in just one hour to feed it. I wonder whether the baby got too greedy, or was simply fidgeting.

I suppose we could come up with a cautionary tale about all this, right? PB, anyone.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Babies and Blossoms in the Backyard

It's finally spring here, though it's wet and soggy. I want the sunshine to stay now. Of course, the rain makes it easier to stay indoors and write. I'm more than halfway done through my revision and it feels good to be plugging along.

Last month, the dog discovered this abandoned nest in one of the beds. I'm not quite sure what they are -- probably baby rabbits. But the dog would not leave them alone. She'd carry the babies out of the nest, roll them in the grass, and nuzzle them. My daughter ended up tucking the babies back. We finally moved them into the woods.

This month my daughter discovered a junco nest. Last week one of the eggs hatched. Today, the baby bird has some fuzz. You can see the heart beating through the translucent skin. It'll be so fun to watch the babies when they're all fluffed up.

Mama bird wasn't one bit happy about exposing her nest. She'd fly to a nearby branch and scold me. I love these beautiful nests -- it's architecture at its best.

And here are the promised apple blossoms!

Spring -- Life bursting forth!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Ruta Sepetys has written a beautiful and heartbreaking book capturing the journey of a young Lithuanian girl and her family as she experiences Stalin's hell. I was reminded very much of Hitler's regime in the way the Soviets dehumanized the people they tried to obliterate.

I remember when Ruta won the SCBWI WIP grant for Between Shades of Gray and I've been waiting many years to read it. Brava! I am so happy this story is so carefully told, incorporating the memories of family and friends.

My husband is American, but his great- grandparents were Swedish and Lithuanian. He still has family in Sweden, but none that we know of in Lithuania.

Other books I've enjoyed:

Unplanned by Abby Johnson. This is a must read for anybody who is pro-choice. Ms. Johnson shares her journey from being pro-choice to pro-life while working at a Planned Parenthood clinic. What's startling is that many of us will see ourselves in her -- in how we think about women's health and women's rights. Sadly, we forget that God is the author of all life, and we have no right to take it.

Flip by Martyn Bedford. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced book about Alex, a boy who finds himself in another boy's body. We learn along with Alex how this could be possible. And like the good fiction it is, it made me think about many social issues, which I won't say here for fear of spoiling the book.

It's interesting that somehow all three books have to do with life and death, and the dignity of being human.

Happy reading and thinking.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter Blessings

I wish you will have a most blessed and beautiful Easter season. Remember:
And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. 1 Cor. 15:17

C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

Below is a picture from Easter Vigil 2009. My three loves are newly baptized. I will say this day is etched in my memory like my wedding day and the day my children were born. For I was transformed. I will forever be a wife, I will forever be a mother, and I will forever belong to Christ. That is something to celebrate! And we do, each and every Sunday.

Last year, my sister was received into the Church. And this year we went to the entire Triduum Mass together. We split our time between St. Jude and the North American Martyrs Parish. The NAM still does not have a permanent home, so Mass was conducted at Bastyr University. It has a beautiful church. This is one of the windows, showing the apostle Thomas accepting Jesus: My Lord and my God.

Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." John 20:29

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor 5:7

And what is faith?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 1:11

Here are a couple of pictures with my sister. She not only brought some Texas sunshine, she made us a delicious chicken curry, taught my daughter to knit, and shared artsy stuff with my son. We'd stay up late and gab half the night ... we had so much to catch up. Best of all, we got to worship together.

Don't they dress up well?