Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Antidote to Hurricanes: A Psalm and Shalom

With hurricanes causing much havoc, I bring to you a most beautiful rendition of Psalm 91 (a promise of God's protection) by Harpa Deihttps://youtu.be/sQNJs89E6x8 There are more here: Psalm 91: Fifteen musical versions – Art & Theology (artandtheology.org). I loved the Josquin adaption for 24 voices. We are praying for all in the path of Hurricane Ian. Nature is both so beautiful and devastating. I love satellite pictures. By the way, this young man with Dagny is Ian and she had so very much wanted to have a "hurrication" to visit him but her wiser nature prevailed. We've been teasing her about surviving Ian :) She's a good sport.

I had a piece on Guardian Angels published in the Sept. issue of Shalom Tidings. Always invoke your angel in times of distress. Aren't we blessed that God has appointed an angel to guide us? The more you listen to him, the more he prompts. Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel--we pray to him daily for his protection. I like to begin my day with a Glory Be to the Holy Trinity in honor of my guardian angel for keeping me safe. I love waking up with Jules beside me; she has the softest fur on her pretty belly. Here she is covering her face with her paws...instead of helping me type. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

A Gift: My Kim-Norman-Repurposed-Train-Case

It's like Christmas and birthday all rolled into one. A few months ago, Kim Norman, writer and artist extraordinaire posted an unusual post on her seeming lack of organizational skills, only to show how it feeds her creative life. I was delighted to see pictures of her wicker baskets and artistic projects from various items she's collected over the years and I especially enjoyed seeing how she's decorated her home from old things--picture books, jewelry, etc. And she has quite the collection of vintage make-up cases that she repurposes as well. And I--lucky me!--won one. 

Actually I'd forgotten about it because I'd not heard anything. But when Kim contacted me a couple of months later to let me know I'd won, I was over the moon! You see, I love little boxes and containers and have all sorts of them for various items--pens, pencils, paperclips, buttons, sewing supplies, etc. And here it is! I'm no artist, but I do so enjoy coloring psalm cards and sending them out. I also enjoy calligraphy and a coloring Bible. So now, the cards and pens and pencils all fit in the train case and I can take it out on the porch, instead of bringing two cupfuls of pens and the psalm cards, invariably dropping some of them on the way there. I love the blues and greens, the pattern paper that looks like sand and the compartments. Kim told me that the oil from the hands of the previous owner gave that interesting speckled pattern. I love such happy accidents. I am sure as my artistic skills develop, more items will find their way into this one-of-a-kind train case. I might even take it with me on my next train ride...




What a joy to be part of a writing community and to give and to receive gifts. Thank you, Kim! 

Monday, September 12, 2022

9/11

Today, on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, I am especially grateful to Joseph Zaccoli, who lost his father on 9/11 and made this beautiful painting commemorating it. And so we pray: 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Some events are so important, you remember everything about them, where you were, what you were doing. On Sept. 11, 2001, I was at home with my babies--Dagny was just four months old, Max a toddler--listening to the radio when it was interrupted by a news story about the Twin Towers in NYC collapsing from commercial planes flying into them. Holy smokes. When I heard that the pentagon had been hit as well, and that another plane had crashed in PA, I wondered if Michael would be safe in Seattle. He was at an aircraft manufacturing convention downtown instead of at the Boeing factory. I was so relieved when he came home. We didn't have a TV but later that evening, I logged on our dial-up computer and saw the horrific pictures--the smoke, the people jumping to their deaths, the firefighters going in to save lives. I didn't know anybody personally who died there, yet over the years I met many people whose lives were changed by this event. Some who survived because they didn't go to work that Tuesday or were running late left the corporate world to pursue a rural life, others left to pursue a religious vocation, and for some, like us, it was the beginning of a conversion.

I've written about it before: Vijaya Bodach: Tragedy and Grace. But now, what a privilege it is to pray for those who died in that terrible terrorist attack. Yesterday, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (intentions for Michael), we had the catafalque, that represents all those who died in that tragedy. I thank them for their sacrifice because unbeknownst to them, they've had a share in our salvation. It's a mystery. I hope to meet you in heaven. Requiescat in pace!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Texas Trip

It's September and Dagny has returned for her last semester at Ave Maria but I'm still not in a writing routine. Ideas are stacking up and it's a wonder my head hasn't exploded yet. Choir practice is starting up, so there's that. Discipline in one area usually carries over into other areas of my life. 

As is my habit, the pictures will speak more eloquently than my words. And yes, I still call myself a writer :)

Pictures from my Texas trip to visit my brother and sister and their families. We're almost twinnies :) Everybody in the family is so artful, but those two darling grandbabies are the finest works of art.  




The motorcycle was made by an artist in India using only wires, twisted and folded just so. Texas has 254 counties and my BIL has visited each and every one. He made that topological map! I just loved that Jenni keeps some of her spices in test tubes! Her little girl is so lucky to get to play with real fairy houses. 






At my brother's place--we laughed and cried and ate so much wonderful food all prepared by my SIL. Their daughter is following in her father's footsteps studying geology. She'll finish up the same time as Dagny so I'm hoping those two will connect. They share so many interests. 




What a joy for me to share my stories with the kiddos, big and small, listen to theirs, pray and sing together with my sister in beautiful St. Williams.



Alas, I brought a bug home from Texas--not Covid, not flu, not Strep--and it lodged in my upper chest and ear and even after two rounds of antibiotics, it's hanging about, so I'm turning to more traditional remedies like colloidal silver and there's improvement. But it's taken its toll on me. All the plans I had for writing went out the window. I scribbled in my journal and it's amazing how long it's taken me to again realize that it's okay to just be and not do. I've had a lovely time remembering every detail of my visit with my sweet family, entrusting them over and over to our blessed Lord, and reading. Oh, yes, I've read some wonderful books! But I'll save them for another time. Tell me, how did you fare this summer? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

My First Time as a Podcast Guest

So much going on this summer but I wanted to share a link to my very first recording as a guest on Jayne de Sales' podcast. She "dives deep into why fiction matters with some of the most interesting living authors." Thank you, Jayne, for inviting me. It was a great pleasure.

We're not quite sure how she came across my work but she read BOUND and loved it and wanted to talk about it on her show. I was thrilled and a bit nervous because I think best through my fingers and not with my mouth but what a joy to converse with a kindred spirit. We spoke for about half hour about gardening and pets before we decided to record and ended up talking more about the writer's journey, which is also tied to my faith journey. Enjoy! Here's her lovely introduction: What treasure can you find in West Yellowstone, Montana? Scientist-turned-writer Vijaya Bodach found a copy of her favorite tale in a used bookstore there. Science, wonder, and faith were central to our conversation, and she even reveals what stories do to our brains on an MRI. Stick around to the end where she shares her recipe for Mango Lassi! This author of the Young Adult Novel “Bound”, set in Pullman, Washington is a fellow graduate of Washington State University. Go Cougs! 

I learned several things. Improvisation and spontaneity are good for thinking and articulating on my metaphorical feet. I will seek out more opportunities because it was very enjoyable, though there's lots of room for improvement on my part. I gained a new insight from Jayne when I mentioned my tendency of jumping into things and them working out. She said it's the opposite of fear holding us back from our dreams. So true. We should trust more in the Lord and listen less to the devil and his lies. I spoke about what I want, but the truth is, we should be constantly seeking what God wants from our lives. We owe Him absolutely everything and I'm discovering that I'm happiest when I'm doing His will. And it's not at all onerous. In fact, quite the opposite, as you can see below.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

July is the Month of the Precious Blood

July is the month of the Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior and we need Him more than ever now to save us. I found this beautiful litany in the Opus Angelorum booklet and pray it several times each week. I especially love how at the end, we are reminded that the Precious Blood of Christ is the price of our redemption and a defense against the evils of our day. 

It is also the month of figs! On my walks, I get to have this sweet treat. Below, a picture of Dagny with her first fish! What a beauty!!! And a helper! Another beauty!!!





Sunday, July 10, 2022

Dagny in Alaska

Fishing season opens tomorrow in Alaska--I don't expect to hear from her much because she'll be working hard, playing hard, and soaking in all that beauty. But right now, she's getting settled at the fish camp (Kenai peninsula) and enjoying getting to know the families she's working with (and the kittens). I love that it's a family operation. What an adventure! That last picture is of the midnight sun! Deo gratias!!!



Thursday, July 7, 2022

Blessings and Gifts in July

I hope everybody had a beautiful day celebrating Independence Day! Dagny had lovely friends visiting. We had a beautiful Mass. I couldn't ask for much more (except fireworks). We are so fortunate to have had wise Founding Fathers who recognized that we are endowed by our Creator the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I pray we return to our Judeo-Christian roots. God bless America! 

July is also the month when we venerate the Precious Blood of Christ. I wrote about it here last year. So grateful to be able to go to Mass with Dagny as she begins her Alaskan adventure on the feast of St. Maria Goretti (July 6). 

It's hard to believe half the year is gone. I thought by now I'd have a contract for my historical novel with a mere two queries but I'm relieved I've only received a rejection so far. The story needs more work. What kind of a writer will work on everything but the story that won't let go of her? I'm starting to feel that I might need to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Though what's at the core of my writerly woe is not insecurity but fear. I'm going to lean into my critique group for support and hope to redeem the story this fall. One day I hope to call myself a novelist. In the meantime, grateful to have this writing life and these gifts--near and far.