dirty dishes and happy tummies


I forgot to turn on the dishwasher.


So tonight we used the good dishes. The Wedgewood set we bought as newlyweds when my husband was stationed abroad about a million years ago.

It’s a pretty set, with delicate blue flowers and a platinum rim. It doesn’t go in the dishwasher. I’m the dishwasher.

Anyway, these dishes have gotten a fair amount of use in the past 28 or so years that we’ve been married. When we bought them, John warned me that we’d worked too hard for the money to put the set on display behind glass and only take them out once a year. None of this saving for a special event nonsense.

I beg to differ on the “special event.” Any chance to eat with loved ones is a special event. Every night. Even when it’s just him and me. Especially if it’s just him and me.

We ate on them when they were delivered, and through the years for lots of special meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and other milestones with family and friends.

Those dishes have also seen a fair share of homemade beanie weenies and delivery pizza.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Catholic Photo Challenge: Filial Trust

Well. It seems that having written this week’s Catholic Photo Challenge (thanks Steve Nelson, for in fact, guilting me into this on the air during Catholic Weekend), I’m going to be grateful that he pressed me into service.

I’ve been a little blocked lately, partly because my dad was very ill and then passed away a couple of weeks ago, but mostly because I let myself use that as an excuse.

For not writing. For not wanting to do anything creative.

It would have required that I look at the situation straight on because it was inevitable that I write about my father’s impending death. But who wants to face the page with that kind of raw emotion? Not I.

If I didn’t write about it, perhaps it wouldn’t happen. So I didn’t.

Because sometimes, still, I am four years old.

So back to The Challenge: Steve whined about how hard it is to come up with a topic, so I teased him about being lazy and randomly picked a number from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be the theme of the challenge:

322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).”

And then, perhaps too quickly, I sent off the text, focusing on the second part — to cast my anxieties on God.

But I didn’t give Steve the challenge word, so he picked the first part, filial trust.

The total trust of a child in her father’s arms. The kind of trust that is given freely, innocently, sure of the father’s benevolence and protection.

Here I am at four years old with my father:


Once you get past the black socks and the Bermuda shorts, note the camera hanging around my dad’s neck. And me, also hanging around his neck. I knew he’d keep me safe on that dock, and together we were going to explore the world.

It is through this first relationship that I can understand our Heavenly Father’s love.

Here I am again, this time with my brother and sister, and I’m definitely not four years old:


That was our last Father’s Day together, a time of bittersweet celebration as the man who had once held me up high off the ground in the safety of his arms now needed me to steady him.

Instead of a camera, he gripped a rosary.

photo by my sister Christi

photo by my sister Christi

He prayed the rosary fervently, but it was actually another devotion, to the Divine Mercy, that taught me volumes:

The total trust of a child in his Father’s arms. The kind of trust that is given freely, innocently, sure of the Father’s benevolence and protection.




this week in bird-watching

In the world of the super unusual, we have three gigantic Cooper’s hawks that have settled into the backyard and called it their new stomping ground.

John thinks they’ve nested just over the fence in the dense woods, and we just can’t see where. They sit along our back fence, looking for rabbits, I suppose.

The other day, one of the hawks caught a rabbit just as I let Otis outside.

It was like a Keystone Cops comedy — the hawk swooped; the rabbit shrieked; Otis pounced; the rabbit escaped. And the hawk was pissed off all day.

It made me think of this:



Light and Dark; Where Hope Shines

I took this photograph with my iPhone 4s, no filters.

Cape San Blas in the Florida panhandle is one of my favorite places for a long weekend escape. I’m not a fan of the water for swimming, too much mineral stuff makes the water brownish, and frankly, catfish, sharks, and all manner of rays makes it unpleasant for floating in a cheap plastic raft (though ideal for surf fishing).

It is, however, a heavenly place for reflection. For photographing. For amazing sunsets. For long walks, and short walks, and sitting in the surf.

It is a perfect place for prayer.

And a perfect place to count the stars and sift the sand through my fingers and ponder my role in God’s perfect plan.

When I took this picture, I was intentionally noticing the juxtaposition of darkness and light — the shadows that are both a place to hide, unseen, and a refuge, when the heat and the spotlight are too much with us.

There’s a tiny silhouette of an egret in the bottom third of the picture. He’s barely seen in the wide expanse of the sea and sky, but there he is, all alone.

I’ve felt like that sometimes in my life, overwhelmed by the world — the universe — around me, and I’ve felt tiny and insignificant, unnoticed in the infinite sky.

I like this picture because it tells a different story. The egret may be alone, it may be almost lost within the shadows, but it’s there, and so is the sun, peeking out behind the dark clouds. I witness a scene like this and I know that God is present in every place, in every moment.

check out the Catholic Photo Challenge at Steve Nelson’s blog, everythingesteban.