Saturday, August 15, 2015

On the Glorious Feast of the Assumption

There was silence in heaven, as if for half an hour-
Isaiah's coals of wonder sealed the lips Of Seraph, Principality and Power,
Of all the nine angelic fellowships.

The archangels, those sheer intelligences,
Were silent, with their eyes on heaven's door.
So must our fancy dower them with senses,
Make them incarnate in a metaphor.

There was silence in heaven as Mary entered in,
For even Gabriel had not foreseen
The glory of a soul immune from sin
Throned in the body of the angels' Queen.

Blessed be God and Mary in whose womb
Was woven God's incredible disguise.
She gave Our Lord His Body.
In the tomb He gave her hers again and bade her rise.

Bright from death's slumber she arose,
the flush Of a chaste joy illumining her cheeks;
Among the motherless in heaven there was a hush
To hear the way a mother laughs and speaks.
Eye had not seen, nor ear of angel heard,
Nor heart conceived - until Our Lady's death -
What God for those that love Him had prepared
When heaven's synonym was Nazareth!

Her beauty opened slowly like a flower,
Beauty to them eternally bequeathed.
There was silence in heaven; as if for half an hour
No angel breathed.

Alfred Barrett (1906-1985) Lentfoehr, Therese, editor. I Sing of a Maiden. New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.

Fly, my soul, with Mary fly,
Soar beyond the golden sky,
Mount to Mary's throne on high.
Bright the queenly crown she won,
Sweet the reign she has begun,
As she stands beside her Son.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

How endure this long delay?
Living here how can I stay
From such beauty far away?
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Sad my lot is here below;
Who can hope or life bestow?
Who will help or pity show?
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

But though far away from me,
Still our sovereign Queen will be
Full of love and clemency.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

With a mother's loving care
She will lift those hands so fair,
And will save us by her prayer.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Mother's heart can ne'er forget
That we are her children yet,
By such dangers fierce beset.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Gently, still, she bends her eyes
On the soul that longs and sighs
For her love, the heavenly prize.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Blest the soul who, like the dove
Borne upon the wings of love,
Follows her to heaven above.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori

The Glories of Mary. New York: Redemptoris Fathers, 1931.

Click, copy, print, color!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ditz Packing Strategy

True story.  I'm a ditz. But I'm the worst kind of ditz when it comes to packing.  I mean actual  packing. I'm a great packing planner, mind you; I've got lists -- and lists of lists -- of what needs to be packed in what size box within what amount of time of our moving date.  I've got packing tape and fat sharpies and packing paper and boxes and bins all lined up and organized, ready to use.  But, when it comes to actually doing the job, holy cow, am I inefficient!  Because, see, things like this happen:

* One of the first items on the list to pack is the deep-storage in the trailer -- where we decide, bin by bin, item by item, what is still sentimental enough to keep and what finally has to go, what we really would use in a zombie apocalypse, and what would just be extra weight in the moving trucks.This is agonizing decision-making for me.
 Agonizing.  I'll never wear my wedding shoes again -- and it's highly likely nobody else will either -- but how can I give them away? For heaven's sake, they cost almost as much as my wedding dress! How can I not keep the big boys' kindergarten artwork?  Seriously?  It takes up almost no space...  Who cares that I only ever really look at them when I'm going through boxes ready to move?  So, yeah... takes me a loooong hot afternoon to get through the trailer.  (And we kept almost everything.)

* Next on the semi-deep storage list, I pull out the contents of the linen closet; I go through said-contents; I look at each sheet, pillowcase, and tablecloth for holes and general keep-worthiness -- and I set into piles to be packed or disposed of.  Then I pack the good ones and seal the box, throwing the unworthies into a garbage bag.  But, then my daughter comes around and reminds me how in the last move it was really useful to use the sheets, pillowcases, and tablecloths to wrap some of the more fragile glassware, and why don't we just keep it all and use it for that?  She's right, of course. Imagine ditzy me forgetting that. So, I untape the box, and throw everything in together-- good, bad, and indifferent -- with the lid off so we can use them later.  One afternoon wasted.

* I begin the daunting task of packing up the summer kitchen the next day, and under the bed I find my big box of old photographs.  And you know what I end up doing all morning, right?  Yeah.  I sit there, crossed-legged on the floor of the summer kitchen reminiscing over old photos. (My babies..  how did they grow up so fast?)  I don't get any further until after lunch,when I come back, close my eyes and put the whole box into the bottom of a bigger box, out of my sight.
* Next step in packing up the summer kitchen is the wall of books. All my personal favorites are in there. It is my beloved book stash. Needless to say, I spend the afternoon going through books, reading a snippet here and a chapter there -- and making a stack of "next-on-the-list-to-rereads." And I really do end up getting actual books into actual boxes, but it takes two sessions over two days to finish a job that most would finish in an hour or two, tops.

Sigh...  It can be slow going.   But this is why we started so early! I've done this enough times now to know myself...   We still have a few small semi-deep storage areas to work on this weekend (the tail end of the trailer, the back of my closet), then next week we start on the next outer-ring of oft-used packable items: house decor and bookcases.  We'll also start doing some of the deep cleaning.  I'll tackle the oven, for instance, and deep clean under all the sinks.  Then, the serious packing begins the week of the 23rd. God, willing, this will go faster.  It usually does. I'll have all the children pull out two weeks worth of clothes and pack the rest.  We'll do the same thing with dishes, keeping out only the basics that we know we'll need, packing away the rest.  Then movies and toys.  Cats and dogs.  Girls and boys.  We'll be moved in before we know it.  Now that all the sentimental stuff is hidden away in boxes, I'll be fine. It'll all be fine.

Until it comes time to unpack.

But, then (Deo Gratias!) I can take all the time I want!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Stillness of Nature

 That said, though, it's not so still with these guys along on the hike...

                                           At Platte River State Park, July 30th, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Psycho Gypsies

I'm afraid that's us. Or at least I have to admit that's how we must look.  

Here are the stats:

* Six houses in five years
* Four states in a little more than two years
* The thirteenth house since Dan and I have been married (28 years)
* Twenty-four moves in my personal entire life (not counting the moves in college)

There really are good reasons for all of these moves -- but it would be exhausting to write them all out. Just trust me when I say that all this gadding about has been God-directed. Or well... at least our attempt to follow what we think is His direction. That's how it usually is, isn't it?  Some day we'll get to see the map He drew for us and how our path went crazily askew.  But, in the meantime, we really are trying be where He wants us to be (we get points for trying, right?) -- and it seems that He's been happy to keep us moving. The Davises are gathering no moss. 

The way Anna used to word it:
"We changed up our minds."
But we sure want to be. (Gathering moss, that is.) We've been working hard to just stay still now for a while.  And, praise God, through the love and generosity of Dan's parents, we've had the opportunity to actually hunt out a house of our very own this summer .  It's been quite the hunt, too.  Find a house, lose interest; find another house, make a bid, lose it; find a house, change our minds about it....  You might think we were a little flaky.  (Us? Flaky?)  As of my last blog posting on the subject, we had settled contentedly, however, on a log house west of Omaha. Remember that? It was a honey of a house, and we were half way through the loan process, measuring walls for furniture, even, when...

... We got a text with a link to another house from our dear friend, Fr. Carlos (Like: "Seriously, Father?")  And, even though we loved the location of this new house -- and trust Father's recommendations more than just about any other person on this earth, we  almost didn't look at it.  We really did like that log house.  There was a lot to recommend it! It was close to our favorite little NE town (and rockin' new library!); it was on a little bit of land; it was beautifully finished (would have been the most "high end" house we ever lived in!); it was huge -- with an enormous open basement to do with as we liked... And we were half way through the contract process, had paid for all kinds of inspections already, and the owners of the log house were counting on a sale!  Why would we want to look at another house?

But we couldn't help ourselves.  Of course we went and had a look.  And it was love at first sight. As
beautiful as the log house was, we all admitted that it never did feel like "us."  But as soon as we saw our little house in the hills, all thoughts of the log house seemed ridiculous.  This humble little house was home. Forget any hassle or that folks might think we'd lost our minds, picking what most would think was a "lesser" home. Forget that we were going to have to pay for the rudeness of walking out on the first contract. It didn't matter to us.  We were starry eyed. Sometimes you just know when something -- some place -- is right. And you just have to do something about it, or die trying. Needless to say, we almost immediately started the process of extricating ourselves from the log house contract -- which took a little doing.  It was touch and go there for a few days; we wondered if we were going to get sued!  But, Dan (and our special patrons on the job, we feel sure) worked it out. The log house behind us, we are now starting the house-buying process all over again for our little farmhouse.

And I'm happy to report that, after two weeks, things are going smoothly with the inspections and loan process -- and we wouldn't look at another house if you offered to give it to us for free.  This is a committed relationship. Truly love at first sight.  And love for the long haul -- God willing! 

(Getting our happy on here! Can't wait
to be moved in!)
Here are some pictures showing the outside.  Check it out: Just the right size -- four bedrooms, two baths -- with outbuildings, on 2.5 gorgeous acres.  Built in 1908, it still has two of its outbuildings standing, a large barn and a small hen house.  There are decks and patios, a horseshoe and a fire pit The interior has had all the hard work finished already, with all updated wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning (Can we hear a "huzzah!" for central air?!) It's not as high-end as the log house, no granite counter tops, no pressed tin back splash, but it's actually more functional for the way we live, and country-fabulous charming. And we will be able to live there cheaper than renting. This is no small part of our infatuation, as you might guess!  But it's more than the finances, of course. For so many reasons--  we just love it. Move-in date is the last weekend of August.  I'll post pictures of the interior when we are moved in -- and send around our new address, too -- hopefully before Christmas card time comes around this time!

Our thanks to Fr. Carlos for sending us that link -- and to St. Philomena who may very well have orchestrated this whole thing -- or who, at least, is being a good sport changing gears with us and helping us out.  So many things have gone inexplicably right in order for us to make this happen, that we know someone "powerful with God" has got to be pulling some strings for us.  Thank-you, St. Philomena!

The south side of the house -- and the barn.

The front of the house.  Not sure yet what all the trees are -- though there are a couple crab apples, for sure. We love the old fashioned porch.  Our vintage metal lawn chairs are going to look just like they belong!

Checking out the deck.  It's hard to tell from this angle, but it's built on a couple of levels, and the plantings you can see just to the other side of the vintage gate is a little herb garden.  We plan on putting our "Mary Garden" in this area.  :)

The back of the house.  The door on the left leads to the garage, the middle door goes down to the cellar, and the door on the right enters into the laundry room/mud room.

Another view of the deck.  We expect to spend a lot of time out here.
The views are amazing from here!
One of the little vignette gardens between the kitchen patio and the barns.
A little bit of the view from the decks.

The little forest path that leads around the back of the house.

Can you see the tree limb destined for a swing?
This is a little overgrown garden area -- with the fire pit just beyond (you can see the benches), and behind that, the remnants of one of the orignal animal pens from when there was a barn right there.  The small grey-ish building to the left of the hay/car barn needs a little work, but it'll be the hen house.

A corner of the front yard, taken from the porch. One of many bird houses on the property.

The "Papa Tree" in the back yard.

The stone wall along the driveway leading up to the attached two-car garage.  The current owner has planted a lovely perennial garden here -- and just beyond is a little grassy landing where we are going to just have to have a hammock or something...

Lots of ecchinacea.  
 We're so excited to explore everything about our new home -- so thrilled to at last be able to put down some roots for a little while (God willing!), but we understand very well St. Therese's reminder:

We hope for clear sailing, but will be swiftly gearing up to weather possible storms ahead.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


* Mass first, of course.

* Then (after an hour's drive back from Omaha), everyone tumbled out of the nice  cool car- into the sauna that is eastern Nebraska -- and changed out of their hot stiff church clothes... 

Most of us stationed ourselves immediately in front of the a/c in the living room, as it's in the mid 90s and it's got to be about 80% humidity. We sat and talked about what we wanted to do about dinner and what movie we might want to watch later in the evening...

* But then, we got word that we had to run out and round up the chickens because  Penny's idea of playing with them was not going over very well. So much for free-ranging these hens at the new house, I guess! 

So, the kidlets ran out in their bare feet, of course.  I stopped to put my shoes on -- and grab my camera.  Naturally.  And (oh darn!) by the time I got outside, they'd already captured and penned all the hens. (These guys are good!) So, instead of some exciting hen-catching photos that would make our day look wildly athletic,  I could only manage a couple calm, quiet, peaceful Sunday afternoon vignettes. Like these:

"Nice Kitty."

Hot Doggy

Ripening Tomatey
 * And then back into the house to cool off and make some food:

We'd decided to get together some cold-prep finger foods for our afternoon meal.
No one wanted to heat up the house anymore than it already is by turning on the oven!
Seen here: my new/old circa 1950 Sunbeam mixer. Works like a charm! Isn't it
beautiful? Practically like new!  And it came with its original manual, a cookbook,
two glass bowls (this one and a larger one), and a juicer. We used it to make
 some pineapple dip to go with some Ritz crackers. Yummm... (Dangerously addictive!)
Also seen here: a couple tomatoes and cukes from the garden.
More of today's meal, some deviled eggs and some garden basil to go with the tomatoes.
* So, of course we ate some. -- cleaned up the kitchen a little -- and then:

Theresa doing one of the things she does best.

Cathy writing a letter.

William communing with his kindred spirit, Calvin
(with Hobbes).

 Anna on her name day-- taking her turn at the
Dan had a hankering for pesto and made up a batch.

 And then there's Gabe.
Catching up after a tiring week at Boys' Camp.
And I'm walking around taking pictures and posting them here on my blog, while drinking iced tea and nibbling on deviled eggs...  Next, a movie -- Night prayers-- Hugs all around -- and another quiet Sunday is in the books.  We can never have too many of these.  There truly is no place like home!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Moving: the little and big pictures.

So...  Lots on the agenda here these days!  I'm finishing up my last week of work this week.  With the move coming up and the school year hot on its heels, it's just the thing to do -- though, I have to say, I will miss communing with the antiques and with the friends I've made at the antique store.  But there's a lot to do -- a LOT -- before the moving truck rolls, and I'm hard pressed to make good use of my time and stay healthy through all the busy-ness.  Trying to eat well, first of all. Thank-you to the hens for their copious healthful egg supply, that regard!  (Just dying of anticipation for the tomatoes to ripen!) And I'm trying to be good and get some exercise with the occasional walk - though I'm not much for phys. ed., I admit.  And it. is. hot. out there! Even first thing in the morning But, you can sit in the cool of your air conditioned space and take a little walk with me, if you like.  Come on along!
Hey there, girls! Working on some more eggs for us this morning?

Here comes the sun. (Doo-d-doodoo)
Well, hm.  Lookie what I found out here in the grass... 
(Someone is going to hear about this...)
'Morning, Penny and anonymous kitty.  Tired from barking all night, girl?
Go back to sleep.  Don't mind me.
Just love how the canopy of trees lets the morning in little by little here.
Oh, alright.  Now that you're awake are you coming along?
Do you see that bird up there?
The soundtrack to our morning walk, that bird up there, singing its heart out.
Wild berries of some kind -- not sure what kind. 
 Mulberries?  Very small bush, though,for mulberries...
Up the hill toward the cemetery.
 "People are just dying to get in here," as my Dad used to always say.
The fall batch of hedgeapples.  Can you see them?
There's my girl.  Walked with me all the way up to the cemetery and back.  
And then there's this kitty.  She walked half-way up with us,

 then stood in the middle of the road and meowed 
until we met her on the way back, then joined us for the walk home.  
Lazy little kitty.  Smart little kitty.  
But look what she missed at the top of the hill.  Such a lovely vista! 
The house we're moving to (in less than a month!) is in a lovely place,
 but not as beautiful as this  -- and not on such a safe and remote dirt road... 
 There are definitely some things we will be giving up by moving.  

But it's all good.  As the temperatures continue to soar and the humidity climbs with it, I think I'd probably rather realistically have the central air conditioning in the new house than this marginally better view.  No kidding! 

"It begins."
We're all busy packing and organizing, dotting all our Is and crossing all our Ts to get this move rolling.  We're half way through clearing the outside storage trailer, compiling bins, making "give-away" piles and filling the dumpster.  We have a couple of insurance quotes to decide between for our home insurance, and have scheduled a walk-through for Friday evening, to measure doors and walls -- to see what will go where to map out a strategy for moving day.  And Dan's going to walk the property to measure for fencing and what we need to do to move the hens over gracefully.  So, yes indeed: things are coming along. (You'd think maybe we'd done this before, huh?)  Less than a month until the big day, though!  We can't wait!