Summer’s End

The end of summer is always bittersweet, but this year more than usual. I had all kinds of things I was hoping to do this summer, from lunch with friends to trips to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to take photos, and did nothing, almost, thanks to my ever-present chronic migraines. I even missed the annual Resch Family Reunion–something I look forward to all year–for the second year in a row.

The highlights? I saw my beautiful and sweet niece Kathryn get married in May. (Late May counts as summer, right?) I made it to a family party at my Aunt Sheila’s and got to see my cousin Elissa who was home visiting from Florida in July. My darling niece Laura and her husband John took us out to dinner. And in August George’s sister and her husband invited us to stay with them for a long weekend in Cornucopia, a village not far from Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the South Shore of Lake Superior. It was heavenly. Lake Superior is my favorite place in the entire world. The weather was lovely. And the company was, of course, superb!

All of these activities, it should be noted, took place with pharmaceutical help. Sigh. But I did get some pretty pictures. And hope is on the horizon…It turns out my insurance covers migraine Botox after all, so hopefully this fall will not be so excruciating!

The summer began with peonies…

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Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.

Luther Burbank

And continued with more flowers, at home and in Cornucopia…

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The family party…

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Summer is the annual permission to slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.

Regina Brett

Corny days and nights…

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If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy; if a blade of grass springing in the fields has the power to move you; if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleanora Duse

And if you have a husband who brings you flowers just because he knows they will cheer you up; nieces and cousins and friends who send you sweet messages on social media; friends who stand by you no matter how many times you cancel plans; family who take you out to dinner and invite you over and have you come to stay with them; be grateful, for this is God telling you that you are loved beyond measure.

N.B. Photographer friends, FYI all presets and textures were from 2lilowls.com. I highly recommend their products! If you choose to purchase something, I’m an affiliate and I’d love it if you used my link to do so: https://2lilowls.com/ref/9  (This way I get a small portions of the profits so I can indulge my growing texture addiction!)

 

a world transformed

Happy Easter Monday!

One of my theology professors used to refer to Christians as “Easter People”. Which we are, of course, since the death and resurrection of Christ are the founding events of our faith. But what does it mean, really…what are the implications for our everyday lives?

It means that we are never without hope. It means that all creation is redeemed and sanctified. It means that the final goodbye of death is, in reality, not forever, that Christ by his rising from the dead has forever conquered death, that although we may be parted from our loved ones for a time, someday we will be together again. It means that we have faith that our final destiny is to live forever with God, that our death is, in fact,  a homecoming. And it means that we are loved, infinitely, amazingly, wonderfully loved by God, in manner far beyond our limited human comprehension.

So the question remains: How do we live our lives in response to the Easter event? I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that the serious business of Christianity is joy. Joy because our world is forever transformed, that no matter how ugly the news is, no matter how awful the presidential race becomes, we know that ultimately we are redeemed, that God calls us each by name. It doesn’t mean that it’s wrong somehow to feel sadness, grief, anger, discouragement…all normal human emotions. It certainly doesn’t mean it’s some kind of sin to suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. It simply means that we understand that loss and grief, trauma, physical pain and illness,even evil, don’t have the last word; the God who loves us each beyond our wildest imaginings and who never leaves us does. So how can we possibly, if we really believe what we say we do, live our lives in any other way but in joyful, hopeful gratitude?

Easter

Break the box and shed the nard;
Stop not now to count the cost;
Hither bring pearl, opal, sard;
Reck not what the poor have lost;
Upon Christ throw it all away:
Know ye, this is Easter Day.

Build His church and deck His shrine,
Empty though it be on earth;
Ye have kept your choicest wine–
Let it flow for heavenly mirth;
Pluck the harp and breathe the horn:
Know ye not ’tis Easter morn?

Gather gladness from skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do open their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter’s robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.

Beauty now for ashes wear,
Perfumes for the garb of woe,
Chaplets for dishevelled hair,
Dances for sad footsteps slow:
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.

Seek God’s house in happy throng;
Crowded let His table be;
Mingle praises, prayer and song,
Singing to the Trinity.
Henceforth, let your souls always
Make each morn an Easter Day.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)*

*Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was a Jesuit priest and English poet

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God’s laughter

 God’s laughter emanating from the sky

LAUGHTER CAME FROM EVERY BRICK

Just these two words He spoke
changed my life,

“Enjoy Me.”

What a burden I thought I was to carry–
a crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me, “I know a song,
would you like to hear it?”

And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when
He sang,

“Enjoy me.”
(St. Teresa of Avila, 16th century mystic, saint, and Doctor of the Church)

free will

Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having

–C.S. Lewis

The love between my husband George and his developmentally disabled brother Greg is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. It is a love freely given, which, as C.S. Lewis points out, is the only kind worth having.

What If You Loved Like That?

I love this post! These are questions I often ask myself, but I think my biggest question is this: Why is it so hard to love ourselves unconditionally, the way God does?

 

The MORE LOVE Club

What would the world look like if you loved yourself unconditionally? What if you loved yourself no matter what? Regardless if you failed, succeeded, finished, stopped, chose, chose not to? What if you loved yourself despite what anyone had to say about you, especially what you had to say about you? What if you loved yourself without conditions? What would the world feel like, be like? What if you expanded the allowing, as to embrace everything you ever did or didn’t do, and accepted it all? What if you loved like that?

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friday eight: hymns

Courtesy of my friends over at RevGalBlogPals, here is today’s Friday Five:

Friday Five: Favorites Old and New

You know how sometimes you just want to have a hymn sing?

Well, today is that day.

Share with the group five favorite hymns or praise songs or songs that bring you close to the Spirit (that’s a pretty wide net!) and why they are special to you.

Bonus if you can share Youtube videos or audio files of one or two or more.

Well, okay, here are my efforts. It will take the workings of the Holy Spirit for me to manage the media aspect of this…

1. Prayer of St. Francis

2. Ave Maria, by Schubert. Not really a sing-along, but the ultimate Catholic hymn.

3. Be Not Afraid. I’ve sung this in the shower, in the hospital, at my dad’s funeral. It comforts me whenever I feel scared and alone, or sad and grieving.

4.  Hymn Tune Thaxted/O God Beyond All Praising. Bittersweet. My wedding processional, and my beloved friend Emilie’s funeral processional.

5. Holy God We Praise They Name. Every time I sing this, I go straight back to childhood, sitting between my parents at Incarnation Church during mass. Classic.

I can’t stop at five, though. so this will be my Friday Eight!

6. For All the Saints. Another classic. I choose this one for my mom’s funeral, appropriately enough, I still think.

7. All Creatures of Our God and King. Based on the poetry of St. Francis of Assisi. (Recessional at mom’s funeral. She loved St. Francis!)

8. And, of course, my Grandma’ Resch’s favorite: How Great Thou Art.