Friday, February 05, 2016

Poetry Friday: Go Read Lots of Poetry!

There's so much going on at The Miss Rumphius Effect that you don't even need me to post a poem today. Go check out original poetry and much, much more.   

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Shepherd Who Didn't Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma

It's a genuine privilege to be part of Our Sunday Visitor's blog tour for a new book from my friend, María Ruiz Scaperlanda. Here she is:

Don't you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her?

 Here's a little more about her: 

In the past 30 years, María has been published broadly in the U.S., including the New York Times, Our Sunday Visitor, St. Anthony Messenger, Columbia, and other national and diocesan publications.
Maria’s work as a Catholic journalist has taken her on international assignments in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and throughout Europe. But perhaps her favorite assignment was covering Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to her native country, Cuba.
Her primary life-time assignment, however, has been as wife to Michael for 34 years, mother to four grown children—and now “Bella" to six adorable grandchildren!
In addition to her journalism, María has written a number of books. Her latest, The Shepherd Who Didn't Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma, published by Our Sunday Visitor, tells the extraordinarily moving story of Fr. Stanley Rother, a missionary and martyr who died at the age of 46.

Cover courtesy of Our Sunday Visitor 

A brief summary of the book from OSV:
Fr. Stanley arrived in Guatemala in 1968, and immediately identified with his parishioners' simple, farming lifestyle. He learned their languages, prepared them for the Sacraments, and cared for their needs. Fr. Stanley, or "Padre Francisco" as he was called by his beloved Tz'utujil Indians, had found his heart's calling. 
After nearly a decade, the violence of the Guatemalan civil war found its way into the peaceful village. Disappearances, killings, and danger became daily occurrences, but despite this unrest Fr. Stanley remained hard at work, building a farmer's co-op, a school, a hospital, and the first Catholic radio station, used for catechesis.
In early 1981, his name was on a death list, so he returned to Oklahoma and was warned not to return. But he could not abandon his people, so he went back, and made the ultimate sacrifice for his faith.

Perhaps the best way to introduce you to the book is through a conversation with María. I think you'll find, as I did, that you are touched by María and her spirit before you even get to the first gripping pages of this beautiful book about a holy and inspiring Servant of God.

Q. When and how did you first learn about Fr. Stanley Rother's story? What made you want to write a book about him? 

Karen, I want to begin by thanking you for your interest in my book—and above all, for helping me spread the story of Oklahoma Martyr Father Stanley Rother!  I am so happy to be “here” today. 

The Church of Oklahoma has done a great job of making sure that the story of Father Stanley Rother is passed on from generation to generation. When we first moved to the state, my kids (who attended Catholic schools here) came home talking about the local priest who died in Guatemala—and I became intrigued! I wrote a few articles about Father Stanley for various Catholic publications.  Years later, when the Archdiocese opened the cause and began working on this project, I was invited to be part of the Historical Commission, mostly working with the Spanish documents.  This is the group that collected information on Father Stanley and prepared a report to send to the Vatican requesting to open his Cause for Canonization. 

A year after our work was completed, our group traveled to Guatemala and made a pilgrimage to Santiago Atitlán the parish and village where Father Stanley lived and where he was killed. On that trip I also met our (then) new Archbishop, Paul S. Coakley. And it was Archbishop Coakley who invited me – and commissioned me, to write the book! 

Working on this project and telling the story of this holy man has been such a privilege. Our world is so hungry for heroes!  And this farm boy from Oklahoma who grew up to be a martyr for Christ is so much more than a comic book super hero. He shows us that we are all called to be holy where we are, as we are—and that is true heroism. 

Q. Fr. Rother was from Oklahoma, where you currently make your home. How long have you lived in Oklahoma, and what brought you there? What has surprised you the most about Oklahoma and its people? 

Our family moved from Texas to Oklahoma 22 years ago because my husband Michael came to teach at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  Michael and I met at the University of Texas Catholic Student Center, so we call ourselves displaced Longhorns living in Oklahoma Sooner-land.  Since you’re in Nebraska, I think you understand what this fiery dynamic really means, especially during football season! 

But since I was not born in either, I will risk offending both Texans and Oklahomans by saying that I think they have more in common than they do differences.  The southwest is such a unique, colorful, friendly world. The people of Oklahoma are generous, welcoming, easy-going. Perhaps it’s living in tornado alley, but it takes a lot to rattle people here! 

Coming from a Hispanic Catholic culture where being Catholic is the assumption, what has been a surprise and a great witness to me is how strong the Catholic Church is in Oklahoma, where Catholics comprise 3-6 percent of the population!  When I hear colleagues talk about their state’s church experience, especially in the two coasts, I am reminded about how blessed we are to be living here. We have a strong and active Catholic community in Oklahoma – and a great leader in Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Coakley. 

Q. What surprised you the most about Fr. Rother's story? 

Stanley Rother was born in Okarche, Oklahoma, a small town northwest of Oklahoma City that was founded by German Catholic farmers. Like other farming towns up and down the middle of the country, the people in Okarche are close and take care of one another. It is here that Stanley Rother first learned the values of generosity, kindness, family-first, hard work, perseverance—and the importance of living out your faith. 

I don’t know if Id’ say this surprised me, but I was certainly amazed by how well and how fully Father Stanley lived who he was—both here and as a missionary in Guatemala.  The soil and the weather may have been different, but just as he fixed the machinery and worked the farm fields in Oklahoma, he did so alongside the Tz’utujil Mayan community in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.  In fact, it was this natural disposition to share the labor with them, to break bread with them, and celebrate life with them, that made the community in Guatemala say of Father Stanley, “he was our priest.”

In his words and with his life, Father Stanley lived compassion… or co-passion. With humility and love he became one of them in order to show them – not just tell them – how much God loved them! He was, as my friend Pat used to say, God-in-the-skin for them.

In one of his final letters to the Church of Oklahoma, (the two dioceses that sponsored the Mission where he served), Father Stanley wrote, "Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom."

Q. If you could sum up the message of Fr. Rother's life in just one or two sentences, what would you say? 

Father Stanley Rother is truly a saint of mercy! He fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, visited the sick, comforted the afflicted, bore wrongs patiently, buried the dead—all of it. He lived Mercy throughout his life—in the seminary, in the farm, in parish work, and of course, in the Guatemala mission. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy Father Stanley’s life reminds me that living Mercy is what God calls each of us to do, right where I am, today!   

Q. What effect did writing about Fr. Rother have on you? Do you have a devotion to this Servant of God now? How did this book writing this book change you? 

My writing is intrinsically connected to my spiritual life. I imagine that you feel this way, too, Karen. And working on this book, in particular, demanded so much of me that it was truly a prayerful experience. 

I confess that for much of the time my prayer consisted of me telling God, “I can’t do this.”  And God patiently reminding me, over and over, “this is my project. You just have to do your part.”  God is so unbelievably patient with me. 

Part of what made this a tough book to write was the timing. During the year I spent researching and beginning to write the book, I had a number of major life events – the illness and death of two close friends, taking care of my father during several health crises—the type of things that drain and derail!  I felt helpless in every direction, including my writing. Finally, a good friend suggested that I simply invite Father Stanley into my crazy life, as it was, that I let him walk with me through all these life events. It was beautiful… and it transformed me. 

When I finally got serious about completing the manuscript I realized that those difficult and painful life events that I went through during the year were precisely what allowed me to have a profound insight and understanding into Father Stanley’s life during that last year of his life -- as he watched the people he loved so much endure suffering and death. 

And the book continues to change me, Karen! Just today I received a letter from a nun in San Antonio who knew Father Stanley and who is delighted to finally have a way of telling people more about the priest she met in Guatemala who transformed her life.  These are all God-things, not about me. 

So I’m reminded again that all I have to do is continue to try to do my part!  

Thank you for allowing me to share his story with your readers, Karen. It’s been a delight to be here today.


Fr. Stanley with parishioners 

I don't know about you, but I love that María invited Fr. Stanley into her pain and her crazy circumstances and what she discovered as a result. 

Fr. Stanley Rother, Servant of God and beautiful soul, pray for us! 


If you'd like to hear what others are saying about The Shepherd Who Didn't Run, you can find a list of all the blogs participating in the tour at Maria's blog.

To find our more about María and her work, go to: 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

My New Book is Starting to Ship!

You Can Share the Faith is starting to ship! If you pre-ordered a copy (and if you did, thank you!), it should be in your hands soon. If you'd like to order one, you can do so from Our Sunday Visitor, or from Amazon. Barnes and Noble is showing a ship date of February 10, and you can also order from Indie Bound, or inquire at your local Catholic bookstore.

I'm excited to share this book with you!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Poetry Friday: Billy Collins

Because it's January (and I'm already tired of snow on the ground.)

Because Billy Collins makes me happy. (You need only combine the words "Billy" and "Collins" and I will smile stupidly.)

Because this little guy (whom I first discovered about four and a half years ago) makes me laugh every time I listen to him.

Because poetry is magic.

by Billy Collins

(More of his recitations here.)

The Poetry Friday round up is Reading to the Core

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Danielle Bean and I Talk Triumphs, Mistakes, and the Patron Saint of Coffee

Danielle Bean has a new podcast! And I got to be a part of it!

I'm excited for her, excited for you to listen, and I was excited for me because Danielle's a lot of fun to talk to. The only downside was that we had to stop talking and get on with our days. (I could have kept her on the phone for hours.)

Danielle now has several episodes of "Girlfriends" available. The fourth and latest is called, "Yell Less, Love More," in which she, as always, offers practical advice and a dose of inspiration for moms. In the last 15-20 min of the podcast, I joined her and we chatted about life, motherhood, work, and having the courage to risk failure. I also did her "Lightning Round" of questions, in which I talked about locking myself in my bedroom to write.

Go here to listen to Episode #4 on Danielle's blog, or here to find it on iTunes.

And don't forget to check out the other episodes of Girlfriends: 

What 'Doing It All' Really Means with Jennifer Willits 

3 Do-able Health Goals for 2016 with Teresa Tomeo

 Overcome Jealousy & Competition with Lisa Hendey

Head over there today and be inspired by the woman who wants to help you "know your worth and find your joy"!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Poetry Friday: The Beautiful Changes (and Happy Anniversary, Atticus)

We have an anniversary coming up, so as an early celebration I'm dedicating today's Poetry Friday pick to Atticus.

You can go here, to The Poetry Foundation, to read "The Beautiful Changes" by Richard Wilbur, but to motivate your click, I'll slip you the final lines of this masterpiece:

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

The beautiful has changed for us, in so many ways, and to say that our marriage has experienced a second finding is a wry understatement. But yes, the beautiful changes in kind ways, and leaves me full of wonder.

For more Richard Wilbur (because there can never be too much Wilbur), go here.

And in further honor of Atticus the Wonderful, I'm rerunning this post about him from 2008:

Happy Anniversary, Atticus! 

We've been married for 24 years -- we're practically silver!

In honor of rerunning our love for 24 years, I'm rerunning a meme about our marriage. 

Happy Anniversary, Atticus! I love you with all my heart.

1. Where/How did you meet?

In college -- i.e., in a previous life.

Don't believe in reincarnation? I do -- it's just that it happens during this life, not after. It's called redemption. In other words -- the people we met back then? Not the people we are now.

2. How long have you known each other?

Since 1978.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?

I knew Atticus only vaguely when I was a freshman. He was an ex-Marine who scared me. My best friend said he had the handwriting of an axe murderer.

I found out later that Atticus saw me in a play that year (I played the part of an 80-year-old woman dying of cancer) and said to himself, "I'm going to marry her." I was relieved to find out that he based this on my picture in the program rather than on how I looked onstage (although, it was a truly awful picture, proving that he's always had quirky taste in women.)

A couple of years later, he was in a play, and I thought he looked dashing rather than scary. I made my move.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?

That depends on what you mean by "date" and by "engaged."

5. How long was your engagement?

About three weeks. I said, "Hey, my parents will be in town for my sister's wedding. Should we get married that weekend, too?" He said okay.

I'm not kidding.

6. How long have you been married?

24 years, to everyone's surprise. (2016 update, in case you hate doing math: 32 years.) 

7. What is your anniversary?

The feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas (though clearly we had no idea at the time.)

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?

About 15.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?

One that served 15.

10. Where was your wedding?

In the courthouse. We were married by a judge (a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church, by the way, as neither of us was Catholic nor had we been raised Catholic. The marriage became a sacramental one six years later, when I was baptized; Atticus had been baptized in the Lutheran church as an infant. We didn't have to "do anything" about our marriage when I, and later Atticus, became Catholic.)

11. What did you serve for your meal?

Everyone ordered his or her own meal at a restaurant.

12. How many people were in your bridal party?

Two -- the matron of honor and the best man.

13. Are you still friends with them all?

My sister is still my friend, thank goodness. And, yes, we still stay in touch with the best man, a friend who was also a former college professor. (2016 update: Sadly, he passed away last August.) 

I almost had my best friend, Jack, act as my "man of honor" but ended up deciding on my sister. ( I was, however, the "best woman" at Jack's wedding.)

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?

I don't think so.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?

Realizing I was actually married, that I was actually Mrs. Edmisten (although, I didn't change my name for seven or eight years.)

16. Any funny moments?

No -- unless you count our entire way of doing things.

17. Any big disasters?

No -- unless you count our entire way of doing things.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We didn't go anywhere right away, but went to Florida about six months later.

19. How long were you gone?

Long enough to get a really bad sunburn, eat a lot of shrimp, and go to Disney World.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?

On the one hand, everything. I've sometimes wondered what a normal wedding would have been like.

On the other hand, nothing. God took the raw material of who and what we were, and here we are today, by His grace. Can I improve upon His handiwork?

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

The side children always seemed to show up on.

22. What size is your bed?

It's always been big enough for both of us, a cat, and sometimes a child, though I always slept better without a small child's feet in my face.

23. Greatest strength as a couple?

That we both really love being home together, we both really love being parents, and we -- finally -- share our faith.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?

Agreeing on the date night movie.

25. Who literally pays the bills?

I sit down to do the paperwork, overflowing with gratitude that Atticus supports the mission of a stay-at-home mom.

26. What is your song?

Nat King Cole singing, The Christmas Song. Very sweet story behind it.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?

At our wedding? Or ever? If it's "ever" it's probably something that involved pogoing.

28. Describe your wedding dress:

It was a simple dress, probably not worth describing to those who enjoy such things ... I've never been good at describing much of anything about clothing. Most of the time, my eyes glaze over and I'm lost when it comes to talking about fabrics, beads and accessories.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?

At the time, I was sort of the same way about flowers that I was about dresses and fabrics.

But, if I were to marry Atticus again, I would want just a few roses, to thank St. Therese for her intercession over the years.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved?

No. They're simple, plain gold bands. I didn't want an engagement ring, either, because we didn't really do the whole engagement thing and I've never cared much about diamonds.

But, I treasure my plain, gold band. It's been through a lot with us.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie. Oh, did I say that already? Well ... here's hoping I get to say it for many, many more years to come.


Tara Smith is hosting the Poetry Friday round up today at A Teaching Life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bits and Pieces of Our Days: Of Art Journals, Ewoks, and Books, Glorious Books

Ramona and I have decided to do some drawing and sketching every day. We decorated the covers of our art journals:

and then we got started. Ramona drew a portrait of her sister Betsy as Rey (funny, because I originally blog-named her Betsy Ray of Betsy-Tacy fame) from The Force Awakens

I love the glasses. 

Here's another of Rey (I think Ramona actually did this one before we started the new art journals, shortly after our second viewing of The Force Awakens): 

And this is her sketch of a pushcart 

from our current read-aloud, The Pushcart War (which we are both thoroughly enjoying.) 

My subjects have been a little less exciting than Force Awakens characters, but that's okay. We're having fun drawing together, promising not to compare, and not lamenting that we're not perfect. 

My rendition of the pushcart, from the delightful Pushcart War


Speaking of read-alouds, Ramona likes to have something to occupy her hands while I read, so she decided to make (cross-stitch? Embroider?) an Ewok. 


In other read-aloud news, we finished The Titan's Curse and are now headed into The Battle of the Labyrinth. Ah, the joys of Greek mythology a la Riordan! 


What have I been reading lately? 

I fell in love with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It was lyrical and lovely. A timeless theme -- that the ordinary is actually extraordinary -- is handled with charm, humor, poignancy, and heart. Highly recommended. 

And for cozy, warm, better-than-a-comforter bedtime reading? Nothing beats a good, old Betsy-Tacy book


Anne-with-an-e just came home from the library with Connie Willis' Blackout. So I'm suddenly in the mood to read Blackout, All Clear, and Doomsday Book

But first, I have to finish reading Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone

Arrgh! Too many books! Not enough time! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Poetry Friday: Alan Rickman, Juliet Stevenson, and Pablo Neruda's "The Dead Woman"

Don't judge me. 

Yes, it's still about Alan Rickman today. 

Go here to listen to Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson (from Truly, Madly, Deeply) translating and reciting Pablo Neruda's "The Dead Woman."


The round up today is at Keri Recommends

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rest in True, Mad, Deep Peace, Alan Rickman

Dearest Colonel Jamie Snape Brandon,

I couldn't resist rerunning this post from 2007 about the day I discovered that little gem you were in, Truly, Madly, Deeply. Don't be annoyed, okay? As I told Miss Dashwood, I had to be given an occupation, or I knew I would run mad.

The whole world


(originally ran on June 17, 2007): 

More Truly, More Madly  

This is the image that should have been chosen for Truly, Madly, Deeply instead of the silliness that was inexplicably used on the video and dvd covers.

Ana, in the comments on my earlier post, asked for more information, saying that she was highly skeptical of this film and its maker, as she was decidedly not a fan of The English Patient (which I never had much desire to see and so can't really comment about.) I've not seen Anthony Minghella's "bigger" movies and initially, I didn't even realize that this one was done by the same director.

The premise of this film has no doubt kept many potential viewers away (not to mention the bad video cover art, which seems to want us thinking this movie will be full of zany fun. Uh-uh.)

The premise: Nina (Juliet Stevenson) has lost her beloved, Jamie (Alan Rickman) and she's slowly been swallowed up by her grief. But then, one day, Jamie comes back. From the dead.

"Oh, n-o-o-o," Atticus moaned, "It's like that Patrick Swayze movie!" and he immediately lost interest (and who could blame him? And how many others have thought the same thing? I now blame Patrick Swayze for the fact that I did not get to experience Truly, Madly, Deeply much, much earlier in life.)

And, just in case you're wondering, yes, Atticus did watch it with me last night (I first watched it the night before, when he was out of town) and yes, he liked it. Very much. Not quite the head-over-heels reaction I had, but ultimately he was charmed. I can always tell he's enjoying a movie if he actually pauses it when he has to leave the room. If he casually mumbles, "No, that's okay, leave it running," I know I've got a thumbs-down on my hands.

Truly, Madly, Deeply was Minghella's very first film, and the story behind it (included on the dvd's special features) is interesting. He says it grew out of "an act of cowardice" -- he accepted the job of making this movie for the BBC as a way of experimenting with directing on a small scale, with a project he thought no one would really see should he happen to fail miserably. It was shot in 28 days, mostly on first takes.

What is it about this movie that made me fall in love with it?

Just about everything, actually.

I'll admit to being a pushover for a movie that uses Bach and a cello so beautifully. Clearly, it had me with the opening scenes.

But, there's also Juliet Stevenson's acting, which is exquisite. There's the pointed look at grief and loss, and the genuine, searing pain of it all. There's wit and a sense of humor and unexpected lines that make you laugh out loud with their sharp revelation of character. And, there is the utterly affecting portrayal of a very real love between a man and a woman, complete with in-jokes and goofiness.

I was going to try to write the definitive review of this new favorite, but then while Googling, I stumbled on this review, at a site I'm sure I would otherwise never have found. It's a near-perfect look at the movie, and I realized there was no point in my efforts at capturing my reactions. This woman has said just about everything I would have said (I have only minor quibbles) -- almost every favorite line of mine, every brilliant touch -- I might just love this review as much as I love Truly, Madly, Deeply. Thank you, whoever you are. (But, reader beware: lots of plot spoilers in this thorough look at the film.)

Here is a clip of Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson doing The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore.
I love Nina's giddy joy here as she revels in Jamie, who has just returned. And, as the above referenced reviewer has noted, it's going to take at least a week to get this song out of my head. Even Ramona is singing it.

Now. Go rent the movie.

Monday, January 11, 2016

I Wrote Another Book!

Awhile back, I was talking with my editor at Our Sunday Visitor about book ideas. "I'd love to write about the process of conversion, about the things that did and didn't work for me when I was searching," I told her. 

It's a personal book, with stories from my atheist days and my conversion. But it's not about me. It's about God and the way He worked on me. It's about friends of mine, people who were generous enough to risk sharing stories with me. It's about cradle Catholics, converts, reverts, atheists, non-Catholics, doubters, and seekers; it's about rebellion and love. 

It's about looking around you--in your neighborhood, parish, or maybe in your own living room--and being willing to talk about the changes wrought in you since Jesus came into your life. 

"I want to write," I told my editor, "about what helped me make the leap, and what hampered my next steps. About friends who proved to me that sharing the faith can be as simple as loving someone with whom you profoundly disagree." 


You Can Share the Faith is due out in February and is available for pre-order now from Our Sunday Visitor, Indie Bound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or check with your local Catholic bookseller. 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Poetry Friday: The Holidays May Be Over, but Holidays Aren't Over

The holidays are ending, though our Christmas tree is still up. It usually is until the Sunday after the Epiphany, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. 

I'm in that in-between state, both savoring the last few days off with the college girls (we made gingerbread cookies today) and getting myself organized, ready to dive into schedules and routines, prepping for math with Ramona. 

But when the holidays end, holidays aren't over. "Secret anniversaries of the heart" happen all year. 

Here's to the coming year, here's to a 2016 full of "happy days unclouded to their close." 

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;— a Fairy Tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.


Tabatha Yeatts has the round up today.


p.s. Ramona, where's my iPod? (I had to cheat with an old tree picture: notice the presents beneath it. My iPod/camera was nowhere to be found.) :) 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bits and Pieces of Our Days

There was an Ugly Sweater Event at school so Ramona made Atticus something to wear:


Finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Ramona. My girls noted that this was the first year I've ever gotten through it without crying. Am I cold? Hardened? Have I read it too many times? Have I lost my touch? 

Or was I finally just really good at hiding the fact that I was tearing up? 


We went to see The Force Awakens yesterday. 
I am not ready to talk about it but I have, oh, so much to say.
(If you mention it in the comments, please be sure to give spoiler alerts for anyone who hasn't seen it!) 


Advent has flown by, as it always does. (Advent flies, Lent crawls....) In some ways it feels like Christmas has been sneaking up on me this year, but that's okay. Every Advent has its own flavor, and no matter what I do to prepare, I can never fully prepare for or grasp the reality that Jesus became Man for me. But He did. And so we wait, we watch. We anticipate. O Come, Emmanuel! Soon, and very soon! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Poetry Friday: Richard Wilbur

I haven't shared Wilbur's "The Writer" for nearly a year and a half. That's practically criminal. It's time.

Time, especially, since Betsy completed her fifth NaNoWriMo novel last month, and Ramona finished the longest story, at 7,000 words, she's ever written. (7k was her goal, actually, but I've been informed that the story itself is not finished yet. Go, Ramona!)

For my daughters. The writers.

The Writer 
by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:

(Read the whole poem here, at, or listen to it here, at The Internet Poetry Archive.)


The Poetry Friday round up today is at Random Noodling

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It Wouldn't Be Advent If I Didn't Talk About Atticus and Nat King Cole


(from the archives:)

We hadn't been married very long and we didn't have much money. It was almost Christmas and although we weren't Christians we always gave each other gifts. The pickings would be slim that year, though, as the budget for presents was, well, non-existent.

Atticus knew I loved Nat King Cole's smoky voice crooning The Christmas Song. I had described it as the "almost perfect" song.  But this was the days before digital music. I could hear my favorite song of the season only if it happened to come on the radio, as I didn't own the album. Atticus wanted to buy it for me, but our budget was so tight that even a new cassette tape (remember cassette tapes?) wasn't a possibility that year.

It was Christmas Eve, and I had to work. Feeling a little disheartened that we didn't have much to give one another, I was nevertheless looking forward to the meal that Atticus would no doubt have ready when I got home.

When I reached our apartment, I put my key in the lock and thought, "It's awfully quiet in there." I opened the door and found a candlelit room, heard a click, and then Nat's smooth voice. Atticus took my hand and we danced.

My dear, sweet husband had scrounged around our apartment, found a blank tape, and then waited. He had vigilantly stationed himself by the radio all day long as he cooked, waiting to hear and capture that song. He waited and waited some more, and finally hit the "record" button when the coveted song made its appearance.

He captured it; he captured me again. And ever since, when Nat starts to sing, we dance.

On Relevant Radio This Morning

at 8:35 a.m. (central time). Talking with John Harper, on Morning Air, about Advent.