Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Interrupted





With the season of spring at hand and winds dropping the temperatures to a March status, I find myself longing for the warmer days of summer. Visions of fuchsias and hanging planters bursting with color are floating through my mind. The lofty winds of the past few days have prevented me from enjoying the solitude I prefer with nature. A wind-chill factor does dampen the mood. Instead of ice cubes tinkling in a tall glass of ice tea, I’m hovering over a steaming cup of hot tea nestled in my hands for warmth, while sitting in the sunshine. The tea will be cold before I get to the bottom of the cup!

Memorial Day is still a month away but the garden centers will be stocking up with their colorful flats of annuals and perennials for our gardens. I’m looking forward to the winds trailing off a bit. Hopefully we will have a climactic meeting of the minds soon. The stillness of summer agrees with me…when you can sit in a garden and hear the hummingbirds fly by.

Cathy

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two Hearts





Today’s winds and temps remind us more of March’s lion than the gentle rains expected of April. As we approach the merry month of May with blossoms in place, threatened by frost, I did spy a neighbor’s flower which brought a smile to my face. A gladdened heart it did bring to me due to nature’s heart of pink perfection. Enjoy!

Cathy

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Changes, Great and Small





As we were blessed with another beautiful day today, I took advantage of a leisurely afternoon.

The time spent with my grandson was the same and unique. This year he is this much taller. As we went about the park, we discovered the new and old of the same. The same rocks were there as last year. This year we passed them by and set our goals to climb the taller rocks, those out of reach last year. We found a toad hopping in the grass as we did last year. We chased him, caught him, patted him on the head, named him “Moad the Toad” and set him on his way. Our further discoveries were the possible hiding and resting places of “Toad-dom”…here a resting nook in a tree trunk, there a small grotto for several toads together. Since the swings were not yet in place on the swing set, we played tic-tac-toe in the sand. Last year we built castles. After jumping on every tree stump and circling every statue the last task of the day would be to run ourselves silly! Mission accomplished!

My personal observations attended more to the flowers in bloom. Last week we had the cherry blossoms and forsythia in bloom. This week they were on the ground and replaced by the neighboring dogwoods. Yesterday the lilacs were not in bloom. Today they are. There are so many changes, great and small. They are both subtle and profound given the discerning eye. We need only to embrace them.

Cathy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Leaving It All Behind



What are the right ingredients of life? What is it in your life that makes you the best you can be? Do you carry with you daily the qualities that others want you to share with them? Kindness, generosity, compassion and understanding are characteristics that enhance another’s life by reflecting your beliefs while your actions serve to state your commitment to your convictions.



On a recent TV commercial, an ‘organic’ product advertised the wonderful ingredients it contained for its high quality. It then emphasized the types of ingredients it did not contain…artificial ingredients, preservatives and food coloring. Noting this in the advertisement was equally important. In your life, what qualities would you emphasize and what ones would you leave out of the recipe of self? The positive qualities can be boasted but they must be pure and uncontaminated. If there is something that contributes bitterness, it must be removed. Artificial supplements only detract from the quality of self. Preservatives only lengthen the shelf life, not the quality of life. In retrospect, what would you leave behind to improve the quality of your life?



Cathy


Monday, April 23, 2012

To Our Earth


To honor the earth
We must assist in her life
 Her mission to support us daily
Home for the birds and animals
Land for our food and clean waterways
 Fresh air for our children to breathe
We must do our part, live from the heart
Lend a helping hand to protect the land
Pick up the litter, recycle all we can
Be kind to future generations
Think
Grow
Plant
Sow
Leave
A
Clean
Foot
Print

Cathy


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Perfect Day


The sky was blue
But not as blue as your eyes

The breeze was warm
But not as warm as your heart

The air was sweet
But not as sweet as your perfume

The flowers were in bloom
But not as much as our love


Cathy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Green Lace


  
The canopy awakes
Entwined branches prepare for the décolletage
Green lace emerges, dancing in the air
Gossamer mist rises to the clouds
Sunlight ribbons stream through the limbs
Leaves bonnet the earth

Cathy

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Hours


We have just passed the one hundred year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. There are many areas of thought to be focused on regarding this historic tragedy. The one I saw on TV today noted the qualities of a loving couple when given just two hours to live.  “If we had two hours left to live, how would we act? It’s a test of character.” Cited on the CBS video from Sunday Morning TV show, were the lives of Ida and Isador Straus who chose to die as they lived, together in love, rather than survival without the other. They gave up their seat on ‘boat number 8’ for the women and children aboard.

It is something to consider…the quality of life….how we live and how we want to be remembered. What would you have done had it been you on the Titanic? What journey would you have taken in your two hours?

As a sideline to the Titanic story is our local history to this event. The Marconi Station of Wellfleet, MA played its part in the rescue of the passengers through the wireless transmissions between ship and shore.
Its chronicles are held today at the Marconi Maritime Museum. This is just one more way to keep the memories alive of the passengers, their families and their stories.

Cathy






Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family of Man


Over the last couple of days we’ve (SMFs) had a number of conversations about our high school days. It was a time of great change in many ways. In a matter of four years of school our dress code went from ‘kneeling on the floor to guarantee the correct length of our skirts and boys wearing ties daily to bell bottom jeans and love beads. Flower power managed the momentum. Change was everywhere. We watched and witnessed the world evolving at home, school and in the world. With this fast pace, we still managed to trust that all would work out in the end. Love was in the air.


The grounding that we had in our previous years must have been a great foundation for our families, friends and the future. Even now, we can still look back with great affection at all that we experienced. Yesterday we shared our lives and today we continue to share with our past stories. Today we extend ourselves, our lives, to our friends and family again through the ‘net’ as we Tweet and add comments to our Facebook pages. The connections continue to grow. We continue to connect to the family of man.



Cathy



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Patriot’s Day



Patriot’s Day weekend is here as we once again celebrate the Minute Men, Paul Revere and the first battle in Lexington and Concord of the American Revolutionary War. We also prepare to celebrate with the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16. It’s not always pleasant to remember war, but it is a great honor to celebrate the lives that gave us freedom. Our history for freedom fighters began here in Boston. Today there are many still fighting far away and stationed all over the world in defense of freedom for all. Support for them and their families is in constant need. Today on ABC News, Kevin Costner was honored as Man of the Week for dedicating his song “When Angels Came Down” to all military families. It honors both the fallen soldiers and their families who have suffered their loss.


Photo: The American Way by Norman Rockwell

This weekend, may we be mindful of all who have given and maintained our freedoms.



*



Paul Revere’s Ride

As a SMF, I do remember having to memorize Longfellow’s poem of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Here’s the website to refresh your memory!



Cathy

Friday, April 13, 2012

Attitude



Today I saw another great quote while checking out posters at a local store.

Attitude
A pessimist complains about the wind.
An optimist expects the wind to change.
The leader adjusts the sails.


The ‘key’ of a leader is attitude with adaptability to any given situation. Another gift of leadership is acknowledgement. A leader looks for like qualities in others to allow them to grow and develop their skills. New attitudes develop to accommodate new situations, altruism being at the top of the list. New leaders are not just born, but nurtured. When this is done, there are great accomplishments. Acceptability is the result; acceptable ideas that are acceptable to all for the greater good. The final result is an alliance for humanity.


Attitude
Adaptability
Acknowledgement
Accommodation
Altruism
Accomplishment
Acceptability
Alliance

It sounds like an ‘A plus’ to me!

Cathy…….Sue, thanks for the photo!




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Make a Splash




From a distance you may not be sure what to make of it. A wink and a squint may put it into perspective. It could be the far side of the moon…or not. There’s color, direction, movement mixed with wonder.


On closer examination, there’s texture, depth, layers of intrigue. There’s no mistaking the creative mind at work. This is not a happy accident or haphazard work of art.



Step back and take in the full view. You are looking at Jackson Pollock’s “Number 1”. His ‘drip painting’ technique may look abstract, but his abstract expressionism was a dance with color. He described it as a ‘harmony’ when he was one with the painting.

  It’s nice to get lost in a creative project. Many of us have a tendency to ‘doodle’ on the sides of our work…to get lost in a daydream. It’s a form of escapism. Let’s ignore our reality to give our brain a break! These are stolen moments of creative freedom. You should enjoy each and every moment.

 I’ve found a fun website to imitate the style of Jackson Pollock.  It’s fun and allows you a colorful creative moment or two. Each visit will be unique and no two creative moments will be alike.


Happy creative doodling!

Cathy



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Turning Over A New Leaf






With the budding of the trees this spring, I can’t help but wonder at the beauty and diversity of all in nature. The pine trees ground us through the winter. The bare hardwoods hold the promise of the three seasons of warmth to come. They all anchor our thoughts through the hard, cold weather and inspire us to be steadfast till the thaw.

Now that the thaw is here, the bulbs are in full bloom and the trees are setting themselves into their routine. Flowering fruit trees are in full bloom and gracing us with their fragrances. Colorful blooms are soon to be at hand with the dogwoods and magnolias. I imagine the delicate willow soon to sway in the breeze with its dainty leaves. The white birch with its paper white bark and shimmering leaves steals its beauty from the full Pink Moon. As the sap begins to flow through the sugar maples, sweet thoughts of the delicious nectar of its syrup on pancakes comes to mind. Canopies of oaks will soon be guarding us from the summer sun.

As the trees bend, flow and sway to the rhythm of the earth, never yielding to adversity, it’s nice to be inspired by their nature. Let us follow their lead.

Cathy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Shooting Stars






One of the best things about doing arts and crafts with a grandchild is becoming a child again. Construction paper, scissors and glue sticks are one of the greatest ways to rediscover your inner child while he is developing his. Add imagination to some glittery stickers and glow-in the dark stars and you have a masterpiece. Having the stars glow on your grandchild’s wall at night is out-of-this-world!

Cathy

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Vacation




The hidden eggs were all hunted, the baskets found with delight. Jelly beans became our condiment of the day…a little with each course! Chocolate eggs became the main course. Hard-boiled eggs, dyed and decorated to perfection, would be the finishing touch to a child’s menu. Leftover eggs were to be egg salad for the next day’s lunch. All this was done and gone before we had our three hour fast before communion at the  Easter Mass. We were busy little bunnies on Easter morning!

After Mass, our parents’ order of the day was to see that we had enough room in us for the Easter dinner. “NO MORE CANDY” was the dictate before dinner. “Can’t we at least just hold the baskets?” we would ask. (Riiiight!)

Very often the grandparents had the responsibility of keeping us clean till we had all of our pictures taken. Full skirts with petticoats and lace with flowered hats, white gloves and matching patent-leather shoes and pocketbooks were primped and fluffed for our annual display of finery. A navy blazer, a white shirt, a new necktie (just like dad’s), a pocket hanky with newly pressed creased pants and new bucks for shoes were the staple ensemble for the boys. A quick brush of the hand as a comb to put our hair in place, a pinch on the cheeks for blush and we were perfect for the portrait. An Easter portrait was always a hallmark event from year to year, usually with proudly held baskets and bunnies in hand.

By the end of the day, the shoes were set aside, lace and petticoats in place, ties and coats back in the closet. This felt so much like the start of a new year, more so than the cold day of January first. The sun and longer days felt so wonderful. Easter couldn’t get any better…or could it?

As a child, I remember that we had an Easter vacation immediately following Easter Sunday. As a student, it was most welcome as a break from school, as it contrasted so differently from a February vacation of snow and cold winds. Spring had officially arrived come Easter vacation. There was such preparation the week before at school for Holy Week. There was such preparation at home for Easter Sunday. It just wore a child out! The flowers, candy, sunshine and baskets full of straw brought color, warmth and promise of days to come. It was a time to sit back and watch the clouds go by. Easter vacation…ya gotta love it!



Cathy


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Blessings




He is risen. He is truly risen.
May his blessings reign throughout the year in our hearts.

Happy Easter
From all at
SMFairytales


Saturday, April 7, 2012

In Service



Today as I was driving, I passed a cross with a purple drape of cloth, much like we see in church on Good Friday, on the front yard of a home that was honoring this holyday. Accompanying it was a sign saying...
 “It Is Done.” 
I do understand its intention, yet I disagree. I am partial to the statement…
”The Mass never ends.”
 We are the living Mass. We are the embodiment of the collective Christ on Earth. We carry on the traditions and good will to honor the life of Jesus. It is in our service to all mankind that we continue to honor his life.



As we approach Easter Sunday, with all its splendor and beauty, apparent reminders of birth and rebirth are ever present. It is a day to celebrate and reflect all that a Christian life stands for….a day for new beginnings and the knowing that we are all one in the eyes of God.

Cathy

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday





This, our most solemn day of the year, we honor unconditional love and sacrifice. Fourteen Stations of the Cross walk us through the final path of a day in the life of service to humanity. May we reflect on our school, its beliefs, the path taught to us and the legacy we carry with us as we live the Words of Christ Jesus. Daily we carry these in our thoughts and actions to our children, friends and family, now and in the future.

Cathy




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fairy Petals




Come spring one year did awake an idea
The fairies were to herald the call of spring
Dew laden webs were whisked away
From the glade of the Lady Slipper

“Gather petals” they cried through the glade
Eager to heed the cry
Collect in thy baskets from each and every
The colors to please the eye

Off went the wings of the fairy flies
Into the woodland planes
Picking the blossoms of the birth of spring
Amidst the blankets of moss

“Now ask the singers of the woods
For a donation of the heart”
And the animals brought forth their gifts of spring
And egg from each birders nest

And the fairies did separate each petal so
To dot on the surface shell
Overlapping completely the edges did touch
The rainbow orbs of life



And carefully did they lift away
Their precious cargo in flight
To deliver to the children of the glade
The colors of the light

Nestled in a bowl of moss
Each package was delivered
The woodland gift of rainbow life
At sunrise of the day

Each child awoke to the morning sun
Glistening on the egg
Just in time to see it move
And break its bonded case

A gift so glorious and filled with wonder
This chickling from the shell
Broke free to sing its song of freedom
With the colors from the sky



As the children gathered at center court
Excited to show their gift
The realization came to be
That each chickling was color unique

A splash here and a dash there
Did the colors show
The petal flakes of color
On the chicks transposed

And the chicklings grew to full size
With glorious songs to sing
As the children admired both color and song
As their voices did join to sing



“Be one with nature, Be one in song
Let the story forever be told
That spring brings forth the creative heart
In colors that never grow old”

Cathy…Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SMF Holy Week



The day after Palm Sunday we are still clutching our new palm branch. The holiest week of the year has arrived and we are still preparing for it. Excitement fills the air. Our final choir practices are scheduled. Floral decorations outline the perimeters of each classroom. The New Testament is reviewed daily as a reminder of the week in celebration.



At home, last minute shopping is the order of the day. Traditionally we get our spring clothes shopping done in preparation for Easter’s finery. Hats and gloves are in place for the girls with ties and white shirts for the boys. The whole family prepares for this singular week, culminating on Easter Sunday.

Family projects always include dying and decorating eggs. A bunny adorns the table as a centerpiece. A menu is planned as the dining table is prepared for the best china and the grandparents’ arrival. Chocolate and jelly bean dreams fill our heads. Tulips and lilies fill the corners of the rooms as we invite spring indoors for the holyday.

Isn’t it nice that these time-honored traditions still hold fast in our lives today? Memories from our past are reenacted each year. They are passed down to our children and their families as we bring the best of our lives forward for the sharing and caring of our future.

Cathy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunshine



Yellow florets against azure blue
The sun’s reflection within a bloom
Speak to me of days to come
Sunshine, joy, comfort
Burst into my life today
O golden rays of light
And fill me with your warmth
Forever

*

Cathy; photo from Sue's garden 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ann's the Next Birthday Girl!


Design Your Flower Self



 
I came across a most excellent article in Smithsonian magazine about hybrid orchids. So much thought, work, planning, effort and consideration is given to them. Some are designed just for the beauty, some color and scent and some designed to honor a VIP.  All are remarkable. None are available in nature through a natural process. The desire to work with nature and bring out the very best she has to offer is key.

I thought that it would be wonderful to design yourself as a flower. If you did, what would you look like? Choose your color, shape, mood, texture, scent and season to flourish. What is it that needs to be expressed from within that you can put into color, shape and a new dimension of yourself?

Perhaps you would prefer to be something other than a flower. Design yourself as a cookie…something sweet. TV and magazines are full of such competitions as people reinvent the culinary classics. Why not you do it for yourself? A song is an excellent consideration. What tune would you create to sing yourself into the heavens? Would it be jazzy or classical? An impromptu song from the heart, different and unique each time you sing, may harmonize best with the world around you. Create yourself as a game to entertain others, especially children. Your inner light of humor can shine forth through the laughter of others.

There are times in your life when you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself. You needn’t start from scratch, but then again it’s your choice to do so. It’s an inner cry from the heart to be recognized and reawakened. It’s good to listen to the whisper. It’s opportunity knocking. It’s telling you that it’s time for a change. Don’t be worried. The authenticity of ‘you’ was always there. You won’t lose yourself, just expand your horizons. It’s the kind of moment that gives your heart wings…the moment that allows you to soar to new levels of your life and potential.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo & Juliet William Shakespeare

The bloom is within you. You are being asked to discover your possibilities.

Cathy