Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Keeper of the Bees

We're learning so much since Michael started keeping bees. We now have two hives--a top bar and the more traditional box. This should ensure lots of honey and wax and bees for the garden. Such wonderful creatures. Life is sweet with bees! In fact, we'd all starve without bees. People don't realize that 75% of the plants we eat need pollinators. All the pesticides used in industrial farming are killing the bees. I'm so thankful we have many local farmers who practice regenerative farming and who are happy to share what they know. 

Our first batch of bees arrived in the mail about a month ago--they went into the top bar and they're doing well, building comb and filling it with brood. The new bees are hatching.

We picked up the second batch from R&R Acres and it's a fully functioning hive--almost ready to swarm--in fact, while we were at the farm, there was a callout to collect a swarm. Here, Michael is adding empty frames in-between the fully-formed ones so that the bees have room to grow. It's so nice to have bees humming and buzzing in the backyard again. Welcome, new bees! 

Some fun pictures from R&R family farm. We visited the store and I bought some soap and a face-toner (smells divine with rose and hibiscus and honey) and the chocolate covered honey was absolutely delicious! The striped bird in the cage is a young emu. The older ones were delightful to watch too. What a beautiful place to raise a family. It can look idyllic but it's a lot of work! I know I don't have the energy but it is such a joy to see young families succeed at building and sustaining a family farm.

Thursday, April 11, 2024


That's us, 15 years ago, at our reception into the Catholic Church! JOY! I could not have dreamed of all the blessings God has bestowed upon us as we journey to our heavenly home. Truly, it is as Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." John 3:5 

And He continues to explain, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." John 3:16 is often emblazoned on billboards. Truth! But it's sobering to read further:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God." John 3:16-21 Here it is in song by Sir John Stainer:

Because we were atheists, I feel the gravity of the Word. Word made Flesh. We did the most terrible thing in the world--killed God. "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," He cried from the Cross. When I cross myself, the first stroke is top to bottom (Father-->Son), I think how Jesus came down from heaven and entered into the depths of my sinfulness. He took upon Himself the punishment I deserved. And because He lives, I can say now I am free! Free! Free to be the person He created me to be. And He has done this for each of you, too! I cannot fathom a love like His. We don't deserve it. But over and over I experience His Love. St. Gemma Galgani, on whose feast day we were received, often signed "la tua povera Gemma" because she felt she loved poorly. Oh, Gemma, we're all poor compared to Love Himself.

It's also the Feast of Pope St. Leo the Great! He's a Doctor of the Church most famous for meeting Attila the Hun and for elucidating the dual nature of Jesus: fully man, fully divine, in complete union, with no confusion or division. It's also the Feast of St. Stanislaw of Poland. He was martyred because he dared to tell the king to not be an adulterer, to repent and live a moral life. Praise God for all His faithful who have the courage to speak truth. Our Lord Jesus has prayed for us to be consecrated in the truth (John 17:17). Let us never fear men and what they can do to us or take away from us. Let us only be in holy fear of the Lord. And pick up our Cross and carry it.   

The Cross! My second stroke is up and toward my right shoulder. I rise from the pit of sin, washed clean in His Precious Blood. And the third stroke is horizontal (Holy Spirit), I think of how His grace flows through me to others. My life has the shape of a Cross, the vertical dimension, eyes raised to heaven, and the horizontal, toward my neighbor. Worship comes first! Praise and thanksgiving! I am so thankful to be a child of Light. I'm always searching for truth and I found it in Christ. And so I sing Exultate justi in Domino... (Psalm 33:1-3) 
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just; praise befits the upright.
Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings.
Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just; praise befits the upright.

Views in and from the choir loft at our 15th Easter Vigil.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Easter, the Annunciation, and the Solar Eclipse

What a wonderful Easter Octave it has been! So much to celebrate. First Friday Mass is in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus followed by Divine Mercy Sunday. Fr. Jeffrey Kirby had a lovely meditation on how the message of both is the same: God's love for each and every one of us. Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart Share a Common Message| National Catholic Register ( And then came the solar eclipse on the Feast of the Annunciation! I was so grateful I received the grace to get up early to hear morning Mass at St. Clare of Assisi and renew my consecration to Jesus through Mary. After Mass, the priest invited us to take some of the flowers home as well as venerate the relics of several saints: two of St. Clare of Assisi, one each of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. Francis Xavier Seelos, and the True Cross. Oh, to have these powerful friends in heaven praying for us, interceding to our Lord! It is true what my kids say--I have more friends in heaven than on earth :) 

Catholicism is full of strange practices, but they all make sense because they are steeped in truth and point to Truth Himself. The Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, the Eucharist, the Redemption--you can't make this stuff up. Fr. Raymond de Souza had another beautiful meditation, how the moon is like Mary, the sun, her Son: The Eclipse and the Annunciation - The Catholic Thing. Yet, Mary never eclipses her Son, so there the analogy fails. My first thought was how Mary hid Christ within herself for nine months. The Holy Family led a hidden life in Nazareth until Jesus begins His public ministry and revelation. All I can say is the beginning of Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God!!! And the firmament showeth His handiwork. Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your Will. 

Below some pictures from my family. My sister (in Texas) said it was a cloudy day but every so often the clouds would part and they could see with their naked eyes the moon shadowing the sun. I really loved the colors. My sister-in-law, also in Texas, sent us this picture of her red lily! So pretty! It reminded me of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! And His Sacred Blood! Oh how He lets me know how much He loves me.  

Max and Dagny sent these from Washington DC and N. Charleston respectively. It was sunny in Charleston so Michael got the colander out. I love seeing the crescent sun patterns. It was a warm day but I could feel the temperature drop during the eclipse. And there wasn't any discernable change in the behavior of the animals, like the last time: Vijaya Bodach: Solar Eclipse 2017  

Please do share your thoughts and pictures if you got to see the 2024 eclipse. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

Book Reviews

It's been nearly a year-and-half since we had another issue of the STAR but I got my book reviews in the Easter issue. I enjoy sharing all the good books I read and especially with my parish family. I hope you find some treasures for your own family here. 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Easter Joy! He is Risen! Alleluia!!!

We are enjoying a glorious Easter! I'm resting in Him, writing, and singing Alleluia!!! Michael is as busy as his new bees! My mother always said we are an Easter people and every year I gain a little more insight as we make the journey from the desert in Lent through the Passion of our Lord to His Resurrection! 

I'm a sinner with a past and I continue to be tempted and fail, but I run to our Lord with a contrite heart, tears of sorrow blinding me. He always catches me. We sing in the Anima Christi: Within Thy wounds, hide me. And He does. The devil may try to stake a claim on me because of my sins, but I hear our Lord's Voice--you are Mine! I love you. I have always loved you.  

My friends, run to Jesus! He loves you so much! He's already paid the price for you! And He is coming again in glory! Praise Him with all the angels and saints!