Raising Nana! (I Hijack Nana’s Blog!)


When: A Saturday sometime in March
Where: My House

Synopsis: Dad fishing, Mom racing, Me stuck at home watching Nana

Who is Nana? I am still collecting data on Nana. She shows up often. She likes to play. She has a kindly disposition, likes yellow, walking and singing. She makes funny noises and funny faces. Nana speaks at about the level of a 4 to 5 month old (I am working to teach her new sounds and maybe someday words! She is a bit like a parrot seemingly endlessly entertained by mimicking my every utterance.) My Nana Loves ME! However, Nana is not known to follow instructions exactly – if it at all! (The report speaks for itself!) Did I mention that she likes YELLOW?!

My Report:
Sweet, beautiful Mommy patiently gave Nana the instructions for my care on the aforementioned Saturday morning. Nana came in her walking shoes and Mommy agreed that it would be ‘lovely’ for Nana and I to enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood. I am a very experienced stroller and was prepared to ‘help’ Nana out to insure an enjoyable time for us. Mommy showed Nana the green blanket – which is my strolling blanket and my OU cap which is (of course) my preferred strolling cap. Mommy gave very simple, straightforward instructions and left for her race.

Strolling with Nana

Exhibit 1: The Photo
How many things are wrong with this picture? If you said FOUR, you are correct! FOUR! Pretty unbelievable for someone who ‘allegedly’ claims to be a ‘grown-up’ and someone whom the state of Texas has seen fit to give a license to operator a motorized vehicle – a motorized vehicle people! What are they thinking? As this case will show, she can barely operate a stroller.

Item 1: I took a nice nap and upon awaking Nana changed my diaper and elected to leave me in my yellow pajamas because they looked so CUTE on me. (Did I mention that Nana likes YELLOW!) 10 AM, PAJAMAS! This is definitely NOT how Mommy would do it. I have a closet full of appropriate outdoor attire. Pajama’s Nana?? Really??

Item 2: Look at the photo – do you see my green strolling blanket? No. Pink monkey blanket. To Nana’s credit she did look all over the place for the green blanket (everywhere except the basket under the stroller). Yes, she even strolled me around the house – AROUND the house looking for aforementioned green blanket. Open your eyes woman – it is on board the stroller itself! Of course, I would have spoken up and helped her out a bit, but she was merrily carrying on some conversation in that cooing, baby talk language that she uses to communicate with the world. I hated to interrupt and decided it best to just let her ramble on assuming she would come to her senses and LOOK IN THE BASKET UNDER THE STROLLER at any moment. Obviously, an erroneous assumption on my part.

Item 3: The hat – pink? My OU cap is my walking cap. (I will not say any more on the OU hat as Mommy doesn’t seem quite as fond of it as Daddy does.) I would, however, like to point out one important oversight with regard to the hat – EARS! Ears should be in the hat not out! Mommy and Daddy always have my ears IN the hat.

Item 4: I grabbed the burb cloth, just to test her out. I am sure – by now – that no one is surprised that Nana allowed me to carry it along for the entire stroll. Mommy didn’t mention – ‘no burb cloth in hand for the walk’ – but she shouldn’t have to, should she??

Last but certainly not least what was she thinking? Nana actually took the photographic evidence and posted it to FB — FB for all the world (or at least her friends) to see. She did tag Mommy, so all of Mommy’s friends saw this fiasco shortly after it occurred! Of course, Daddy is too cool for FB and was thankfully spared being tagged and tied to this incident.

Since Nana is forever snapping pictures with that iPhone 4s of hers, maybe a video reminder of strolling procedures for her iPhone that she can review prior to strolling me around is in order!

I will be surprised if Mommy and Daddy leave me alone to watch Nana again! She is too much for one precious baby to be expected to keep up with!

End Report.

(P.S. Daddy says I am to young have my own blog; I hope he doesn’t mind me using Nana’s until then!)

Ash Wednesday Surprise!


Our God is full of delightful surprises!

Most recently, I have experienced this through my ‘Christmas’ cactus.

For years, it was a reluctant bloomer. I was lucky to see a single bloom or maybe 2 during the whole season.

However, 4 or 5 years ago after my move to Dallas, it started blooming like crazy around the second Sunday of Advent and continuing through the first of the year.

Such a treat!

Last year during Lent, it started blooming like crazy through Easter – just as its own joke.

A rogue cactus bloomer – both during Advent/Christmas (expected) and Lent/Easter (unexpected).

I was wondering if this was a one off last year, but find that there are several blooms with one that burst open Ash Wednesday.

So fun!

Doggy Days


Well, the pups have come for a visit. They were pretty busy yesterday exploring and becoming familiar with their surroundings. Today they are old hands at my house and yard. They have driven all the squirrels off my property, found a great circle around the yard behind the shrubs, and even gone through the deck railing with a nice, graceful leap.

I have loved watching Marty’s ears perk up with every cardinal song. I was delighted to find that she and I both have an appreciation of great music! I also have found that Marty has heretofore undiscovered vegetarian tendencies as I have caught her munching on one of my flowers – more than once!

While Marty has been busy appreciating the finer things of life, Poncho has been concerned with more serious matters. I do not believe one stroller, walker, jogger, dog, cat, or squirrel has passed by the house without him going to the window to check them out. He is vigilant and ready to spring into action if needed! He has figured out that the best perch for his sentry duties is the landing between my 2 staircases.

The thing that has struck me most is the way the dogs go about being who they are – Poncho the guard/protector and Marty the companion. While Poncho watches from his guard perch, Marty curls up where ever I am. It is all so natural and could be no other way!

What a gift!

Poncho On Guard Duty!

Spring Joy!

Yellow Flowers - Just getting Started!

Wisteria - wonderful!

Spring has officially arrived!

I awoke to birds singing again outside my bedroom window!! Such a wonderful treat.

The Wisteria is just starting to bloom as well as my beautiful yellow flowers (not sure of the name – but hundreds of small yellow flowers!). Both are right outside my bedroom window.

The birds are singing with joy at the sight of the flowers. Me too!

Moments like this make the love of God real to me. I pause to take it all in.

I am truly blessed. Blessings on your day!

For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Is 55:12)

#Lenten Madness

Okay. For those of you who are starting to go just a bit crazy from your Lenten discipline, Father Tim has put together a tournament of Lenten Madness for us. Lenten Madness pits your favorite Saints against each other in daily match-ups. You vote to see who proceeds to the next round.

Yes, there is a tournament bracket to help you keep track of the action!

Find out what possessed Father Tim to take up such a burden – does this REALLY count as a Lenten discipline?! Get the scope here.

Go to Fr. Tim’s Blog and vote today (and tomorrow …)! See who wins the Golden Halo this year. Enjoy!

Gregory of Nyssa on Time

Time is measured by a threefold division, past, present, and future. In all three we receive the munificence of the Lord. If you consider the present, it is through Him that you live; if the future, your hope that your expectations might be fulfilled in founded on Him; if the past, you realize that you did not even exist before He made you. Your very birth you have received as a benefit from Him; and once born, another benefit was conferred on you in that, as the Apostle says, you should live and move in Him. The hopes of the future depend upon the same Divine action. You, however, are master only of the present. Therefore, even if you never cease to give thanks to God throughout your life, you will hardly thank Him for the present; and as for the future and the past, you will not be able to find a means of rendering Him His due.

Yet, though we are so far from being able to thank Him properly, we do not even show our good intention as far as we can—I will not say all day long, but not even by devoting a tiny part of the day to the service of God. Who has spread the earth under my feet? Whose wisdom has made water passable? Who has set up the vault of the sky? Who carries the sun before me like a torch? Who causes the springs to come forth from ravines? Who has given the rivers their beds? Who has subjected the animals to my service? Who, when I was but lifeless ashes, gave me both life and a mind? Who fashioned this clay in the image of the Divine? And, when this Divine Image had been tarnished by sin, did not He restore it to its former beauty? When I was exiled from Paradise, deprived of the tree of life, and submerged in the gulf of material things, was it not He who brought me back to man’s first beatitude?There is none that understandeth, says the Scripture. Truly, if we considered these things, we should give thanks all our life without ceasing.

From “The Lord’s Prayer” by Gregory of Nyssa


Homes: A Week of Travel and Being Home

Midland, TX - Near the Airport

I have been thinking more about the idea of space-time from my last post, particularly the space (place) part of it. I live in Dallas now. A place that I dearly love, partly because both of my kids live here, but also because of the trees and beautiful, colorful plants that are a part of life in this place. My house is surrounded by them. Stepping out onto my deck, I often pause for prayer and to take in the beauty of my surroundings. I feel blessed by such beauty and often sense God’s presence in my Dallas garden.

This week I was scheduled for several meetings in West Texas and SE New Mexico. For those unfamiliar with this place, I believe the best description might be ‘absolutely nothing like Dallas’. This is an area that I am very familiar with because before Dallas, I lived in West Texas for 27 years.

Stepping out of the air terminal in Midland, an immediate feeling of being home settled over me. I was a little taken aback by the strength of the pull this place still has on my heart. As you can see from my picture, on the surface this space doesn’t have much to recommend it. Barren. Dusty. Unchanging – you can drive for miles (and miles!) and the view doesn’t change.  But in spite of first impressions, the West Texas terrain for me, as one who has lived it, is a place of beauty. The first thing you notice is the sky (no pesky trees, hills, tall buildings, etc to block your view). It is blue and expansive. The spaces out here are uncluttered and wide open.

While in the area, I had the pleasure of a quick (our schedules weren’t cooperating!) visit with a dear friend who has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer for the last few months. Walking into her den and giving her a big hug, I was once again overcome by an incredible sense of being home in her home. Knowing our visit was to be short, I was particularly keen to soak in every moment of our time together. We did not waste a moment of that visit!

I hit the road for SE New Mexico and a remote gas processing plant. The plant is so remote that for the last 15 miles of the drive the GPS showed me driving in the middle of a field! My cell phone works very sporadically in this area and not at all in the vicinity of the plant. In spite of the remoteness, a group of 15 of us slowly began to arrive from all directions. Once assembled, the meeting began. Here again, I was struck with an incredible sense of being home. Over the years, I have spent so much time in many similar locations. I  am very comfortable in sparse the settings of the oil & gas industry. The group of us was crammed around a fold out table, sitting on folding chairs in a small trailer which is the office/workspace for the plant. I was, of course, the only female in the meeting which is the norm for me. There were several new young engineers in the mix, and the rest were folks I have been working projects with for the last 20 plus years. It was amazing how at home I felt in this environment. It felt like a holy time and holy space.

God has been tugging on my heart strings this week – the lesson for the week is HOME. I have always thought of my self as a bit of a nomad – a person without a real home. When people ask, “where did you grow up?” or “where are you from?” I don’t have an easy answer. My father was in the Air Force, so my growing up was split between the mid-west, Texas and even Europe. I never really knew how to answer the question properly. Sometimes because of my Irish roots (Donavan), I would just claim Ireland as my home – even though I have never actually been there! The importance of place is so strongly a part of Celtic culture, it just seemed right somehow. This week I have come to realize that I am not a person of no home, but a person of many homes.

My Backyard Garden - Dallas

What my homes have in common is that they are places where I have put down roots, places that welcome me and places that I feel ‘kick-off my shoes’ comfortable in.  Safe places with family, friends, or colleagues who are glad to see me when I show up! These are the holy landscapes of my life – sacramental spaces & times where I encounter the Holy Creator of the universe.

And this week, I remembered to give myself the gift of pausing to take it all in. It was a balm for my soul during an incredibly busy week.

And yes, landing at Love Field and heading up the Dallas North Tollway. I was home again, but then I never really left home, did I?

Space-Time as a Spiritual Practice

I am a part of a small group through my church. Every week we are focusing on a new spiritual practice. This week we get two practices – silence and awareness of creation! Both of these practices help to open us to experiencing the goodness of God. They also involve becoming aware of both place (space) and time. The scientist in me is delighted to find space-time as a part of the learning for this week!

Silence involves slowing down and becoming quiet – learning to be present in the present moment. Not an easy endeavor, but one that helps finite beings reconnect with the infinity that is God.

Awareness of creation opens our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us. Our sight becomes dulled because we take for granted that which used to amaze the child in us. We look but we don’t see. We listen but we don’t hear. We have lost our connection to place.

Plant yourself in space this week and then open your eyes and ears to the wonders of God’s marvelous creation. Macrina Weiderkehr says, “When I pause, blessings appear.” May it be so for you this week! Amen.