Monday, February 28, 2011

A Love song

We moved a lot while I was growing up...If we stayed in one place more than a year, I began to call it home! Because of this I turned to books and music for company...two constants that could travel with me. My tastes in music are wide and varied...there is something wonderful about it all...from Bluegrass to Classical.

Not sure why, but this song popped into my head this weekend. And while this is the first time I've heard it preformed by Diana Ross, she does a good job...Since it's Monday and some wicked thunderstorms are headed our way...not that I really need an excuse to play is a love song...called Big Mable Murphy...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Hero...

How can we hope to nourish the soul if the body is hungry...Here is a CNN Hero to show us the way...

What can we learn from someone such as this? He is not a Christian and yet he is living a Christ-like life. It just goes to show...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Victor Hugo...

209 years ago today Victor Hugo was born.

In High School my French teacher gave us an assignment to read a book by a French author (not in was just HS after all)! I chose "Les Miserable" by Victor Hugo. Although I knew nothing about him or the book prior to my choice, I was thrilled with the story. It touches every human emotion.

Years later the story was adapted and became a world famous play. I was privileged to see the production and sat spellbound...once again I was wrapped in the story but this time with words and music...It is a fabulous production and well worth your time if you ever have the opportunity.

While I know Hugo never dreamed of such, in honor of his birthday a song from the play...enjoy!

Angry Birds...

Thanks to his Uncle Greg, my grandson (and Nana and Papa) are now offically Angry Bird half the human race! Now I've seen it all, the PERFECT birthday cake for the AB enthusiast!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Yesterday, Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off...she is the oldest of the three remaining shuttles and is due to be decommissioned later this year. The other two shuttles, Atlantis and Endeavour, are set to make their final flights soon and will bring to an end the 30 year program.

As someone who has lived through the history of manned space flight (I was pretty young for the first few), this is sad. In the excitement of the early days and the "race to the moon", I don't think anyone ever thought it would end. I recall my parents waking me in the night to watch the first "walk" on the moon...although we did not have HD televisions (many weren't even color) the shaky black and white images made this young girl believe that anything was possible. I remember running outside to look up...and marvel. There was the moon that God had placed in our night sky and there were men walking on it! A few years later our teachers started to tell us about NASA building space vehicles that could take off and land like an airplane! No longer would a rocket be built for one flight...they could be used time and again. How marvelous!

This is Discovery's 39th flight...she has logged 143 million miles since her first flight in 1984. She has already spent 352 days in orbit and will be up for 11 more on this trip. That will add another 4.5 million miles to her odometer! Her list of achievements is long and stellar and I, for one, will hate to see the program end. Launch Director Mike Leinbach summed it up on Wednesday..."She's been an amazing machine. She's done everything we've ever asked of her."

God Speed Discovery!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Just goes to show that fishing for a living is not all fun and games...or perhaps the occasional blooper is just pay back for having the opportunity to fish for a living. Either way, Bill Dance does seem to have more than his fair share...enjoy!


Jon at Asbo Jesus has a way of saying so much with a picture. I know the old quote "A picture is worth a thousand words" but he applies it spiritually and doesn't shy away from the "hard" stuff. Once again he has much to say here:

I doubt there are many of us living the life we imagined while growing up. I never dreamed I would be where I am, doing what I do at this stage of life. That's not a complaint. There have been blessings and there have been struggles, and I'm sure there will be more in the future, but the blessings far outweigh the struggles.

I would not be the first to compare a life lived to a Smith creating a beautiful
sword. It is a long laborious process of melting, pouring, heating, cooling, pounding, sanding, shaping, buffing, shining and sharpening...and so is life. Each blessing a respite for your weary soul, each struggle or temptation part of the creation of the person you are or are meant to be.

When you think back on your childhood and realize that perhaps it's not as you dreamed it would be...take a few extra moments to count YOUR blessings and you may discover your life to be oh so much more than you ever thought possible...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ballot Box...

"I solemnly swear to tell the truth as I know it, the whole truth as I believe it to be, and nothing but what I think you need to know."

This statement was part of a joke sent to me by my brother-in-law. It was a joke about politicians...and this is a revised oath. Unfortunately in today's world, the oath shown above is more applicable than the actual, "I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

I'm not lumping all politicians into one category, but I must say I am disappointed in how few possess the integrity we should expect from those who lead us. I've been told that those who would be the best public servants will not run because they do not want to subject themselves and more importantly their families to "the spotlight". I can't say as I blame them. Should you choose to run, the media will hound you and people will dig...deep into your life. Unless you've been perfect, and we all know there's only been one of those, they'll find what you're hiding.

Perhaps you have led a stellar life but your children stumbled on their path to adulthood...that's fair game for the media. Did you ever break any one's heart...even in elementary school? These memories may well be paraded in print and in front of the camera in an effort to tarnish your image.

I hate that campaigns have become a challenge to see which candidate can dig up the most dirt...we are diminished because of this. Our country is crippled by the lack of strong leadership...those willing to make a stand instead of just telling us what we want to hear. But, I cannot blame it all on the candidates...we, the voters, are at fault too. We listen to vitriol they spew, we allow it to color our judgment. Instead of researching where each candidate stands on the issues that are important to us, we are concerned with their love life as a teenager and what they may or may not have done during their college years.

There needs to be new standard...for campaigns and for voters. While I would never deny anyone the right to vote, would it be such a bad idea if we were required to truly understand the process before being turned loose in the ballot box?

...stepping off my soap box, now.

A Large Pepperoni Please!

Jean Wilson has ordered the same thing EVERY day for the last 3 years. A large thin crust pepperoni pizza and two diet cokes. Now, while some would tell you that this would probably kill you in the end, it actually saved the 82 year olds' life! Read the story here...

Bravo to Susan Guy who followed her heart on this one.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christchurch, NZ

Our hearts go out to those affected by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked New Zealand today...details, here.

A dance....

The Balance Between Closeness and Distance

Intimacy between people requires closeness as well as distance. It is like dancing. Sometimes we are very close, touching each other or holding each other; sometimes we move away from each other and let the space between us become an area where we can freely move.

To keep the right balance between closeness and distance requires hard work, especially since the needs of the partners may be quite different at a given moment. One might desire closeness while the other wants distance. One might want to be held while the other looks for independence. A perfect balance seldom occurs, but the honest and open search for that balance can give birth to a beautiful dance, worthy to behold.
Henri Nouwen

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It was a strange game...

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

It was Grapevine Faith Christian School against Gainesville State School...Grapevine Faith won the game and the hearts of some young's a lesson we could all learn from...

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Read the story here...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Your Nose...

Some wise humor from Cleve Bishop:


10) Look down it at somebody (Pride)

09) Poke it into someone else’s business (Strife / Dissension)

08) Snoop around with it (Nosey / Gossip)

07) Get it out of joint (Anger)

06) Cut it off to spite your face (Bitterness)

05) Pay through it (Materialism)

04) Find something right under it (Love / Salvation)

03) See past it (Eternity / Hope)

02) Keep it clean (Humility / Obedience)


01) Get it stuck in a book (The Bible!)

Do not try this at home...

Sorry, this is fascinating to watch but I felt I needed to add a disclaimer. During my childhood days, me and my sister, along with neighborhood children and various cousins would have given it a shot! I've never said we were (or that I am) the brightest bulb in the box...but, we did have some fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Help Emilda Run....


Our family has sponsored a child through Compassion International for 8 years now. It has been a blessing to watch her grow through the years and know that we have helped her. Compassion is a wonderful organization reaching thousands of when they ask a favor, I respond.

Emilda (not my Compassion child) has a disability and also a gift. Read her story here and then donate, if you can. This may very well be the only chance she has to use her skills and think of the joy it will bring to her...her family...her community...her country...and also you!

There's more "in depth" information about Emilda and her family here...

The Internet...

Computers and the Internet invade every aspect of our lives today...and just think, 20 years ago some of the most "informed" people on TV did not know what it is...don't believe me...just watch!

This was "off air" chatter between the hosts in 1984...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tell us...

This post was copied verbatim from Rachel Held Evans Blog just because it needs to be heard...

Dear Pastors - Tell Us the Truth

This post was inspired by a few things:

First, the brilliantly titled Epic Fail Pastors Conference, born from the question “What if we offered a space that is gutsy, hopeful, courageously vulnerable for pastors to let go of the burden to be a Super Pastor?” Second, a candid talk from David Felton at Big Tent Christianity about how pastors are often afraid to share what they are learning about the Bible and Christianity with their congregations for fear or recourse. (David recalled one pastor who reached retirement and said, “Now I can finally say what I really think.”) And third, the increasing number of pastors who contact me to say that they have doubts too, but can’t tell anyone about them.

Dear Pastors,

Tell us the truth.

Tell us the truth when you don’t know the answers to our questions, and your humility will set the example as we seek them out together.

Tell us the truth about your doubts, and we will feel safe sharing our own.

Tell us the truth when you get tired, when the yoke grows too heavy and the hill too steep to climb, and we will learn to carry one another’s burdens because we started with yours.

Tell us the truth when you are sad, and we too will stop pretending.

Tell us the truth when your studies lead you to new ideas that might stretch our faith and make us uncomfortable, and those of us who stick around will never forget that you trusted us with a challenge.

Tell us the truth when your position is controversial, and we will grow braver along with you.

Tell us the truth when you need to spend time on your marriage, and we will remember to prioritize ours.

Tell us the truth when you fail, and we will stop expecting perfection.

Tell us the truth when you think that our old ways of doing things need to change, and though we may push back, the conversation will force us to examine why we do what we do and perhaps inspire something even greater.

Tell us the truth when you fall short, and we will drop our measuring sticks.

Tell us the truth when all that’s left is hope, and we start digging for it.

Tell us the truth when the world requires radical grace, and we will generate it.

Tell us the truth even if it’s surprising, disappointing, painful, joyous, unexpected, unplanned, and unresolved, and we will learn that this is what it means to be people of faith.

Tell us the truth and you won’t be the only one set free.


The Congregation

Having it all...

Today's media would have us believe that we can have it all, do it all and we deserve it all. I have an issue with this statement, particularly the we, in fact, deserve it all?

Society is allowing itself to be defined by "Madison Ave." and many of us fall prey to their advertising. Loud, upbeat music, smiling "pretty" people try to convince us we won't be complete until we buy such and thus. Did you know you were unhappy? Did you know you'll never be "complete" unless you pull out your credit card and go online or call? I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that they say it or the fact that so many of us buy into the lie. What would happen if each time we started to purchase anything we looked at it under the magnifying glass and I need this or do I just want it? If you want it, why? Because it is something that will make you happy? Or have you just been told it will make you happy? Go back and re-read Philippians 4: 11 ( ...I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstance) and Luke 12:23-24 (...yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds) use this as part of your measuring stick.

I have reached the point in my life that I realize I can't do it all, don't even want to try. I can't have it all, besides, where would I put it? And lastly, I do not deserve it all. I don't deserve what I any of us? Let us rejoice in the gifts we do have...the love of God the Father, the salvation of Jesus Christ and the companionship of the Holy Spirit. What can man create to match these gifts?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abbey of Gethsemani

The Abbey is a Trappist Monestary not so very far from where I live. As they take in laypersons for periods of retreat, it is my dream to spend a few days there...someday. It is most famous because it was the home of Thomas Merton (those who read regularly know he is one of my favorite authors).

Pat McNamara has written an interesting article about the 163 year old Abbey. Read the story here Who knows, perhaps you may want to visit too!

A miracle....

and his name is Chase. You should check him out, here.

Chase is a wonderful reminder that we humans do NOT know everything. Science is not omnipotent...only God is.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


So many believe that if we deny the pain in our lives or run interference for the difficulties in the lives of others we are showing tenderness and it that? Or are we really just refusing to live? We are called to experience the hard and painful times as well as the good. Faith teaches us to see God's hand in it all.

"A few days ago, I watched as Mom fed her dying son his supper, patiently holding small spoonful after small spoonful to his lips, encouraging him to swallow and take a little more, offering him a drink, dabbing at his lips. Occasionally, watching him do the hard work of simply eating, she would shake her head sadly and offer him another bite.

I watched this unshrinking woman -- a woman who, ten years ago, would have told you that she could not possibly endure such a reality -- feed her son a pureed meal from his dish, while she nourished him -- and the rest of us present -- in a completely different way, with her unconditional love. Forty years ago, she had fed her son as she feeds him now; back then it was a game, now it is a heavy sadness. But both meals had been flavored by the constancy of her love.

Elizabeth Scalia has written a disturbing but beautiful article concerning living with and through suffering, it is well worth taking a few moments to read it here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

This is the 33rd Valentine's Day hubby and I have celebrated together...This is "our" song...

Thanks, Rod!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Father

I had not thought of this version of The Lord's Prayer in years...but I listened a lot when I was a teenager. Sister Janet Mead's version caught the attention of many in the early 1970's...if you were a fan, enjoy! If you're too young to remember, I think you'll like it!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Under Pressure...

Music always has something to say...

'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves

Under Pressure Lyrics

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure - that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets
Um ba ba be
Um ba ba be
De day da
Ee day da - that's o.k.
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets
Day day de mm hm
Da da da ba ba
Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Ee do ba be
Ee da ba ba ba
Um bo bo
Be lap
People on streets - ee da de da de
People on streets - ee da de da de da de da
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher high high
Pressure on people - people on streets
Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love
but it's so slashed and torn
Why - why - why ?
Love love love love love
Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give love give love give love give love
give love give love give love give love give love
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI has a wonderful message for young people in this age where technology connects as well as isolates us. I am sure neither of them meant this message only for Catholic youth...

"You are good. You are loved. You are created for a purpose. You are more than pop culture. You are greater than the temptations of the age. You are the ongoing affirmation of unique individualism. Jesus loves you, He calls you. Do Not Be Afraid."


The Angel of the Delta
New Orleans - 6 March 1885

Today I came across a little square at the junction of Camp, Prytania and Clio Streets. It was a charming oasis of walks, fountains and grass in the busy city of New Orleans.

In the very center was a marble statue of a woman. Usually in the Victorian Age when you see a statue of a woman, it’s a beautiful young woman portraying “Victory” or “Justice” or some other lofty idea. Instead this was an old woman, short and squat, with a square face. I took out my camera-spectacles to get a picture of this unusual image.

By the looks of this woman, her figure had been destroyed not by too much food, but too much work. Dressed like a washerwoman in a shawl and plain dress, she sat in a chair with her arm protectively around a child. She gazed at the child with tenderness and bulldog determination.

I looked down at the pedestal beneath her, expecting to find a plaque dedicated to a poor widow who had worked herself to death so her child could survive and become wealthy enough to afford this memorial to his mum. Instead a found only one word chiseled in the stone--“Margaret.”

“Margaret?” I said aloud. “Who in heavens is Margaret?”

“You got that right, mister.”

I turned to see a plucky Irish woman. She smiled at the statue. “That is St. Margaret.”

An elderly gentleman stopped and rubbed his aquiline nose. “If there are saints, she is certainly one. Angel of the Delta, we call her. She kept the Jewish Asylum for Widows and Orphans open.”

“Why that be Mother Margaret,” a young African-American spoke-up.

“Who’s mother was she?” I asked.

“My mother.” He grinned at me. “She was mother to all the orphans.”

“That’s Our Margaret, the Heroine of New Orleans,” said a grizzly-looking man leaning on a crutch to compensate for a missing leg. “That little lady took on the entire Union Army. Went toe to toe with General ‘Beast’ Butler himself.”

A man in a nice suit joined in. “That, sir, is Margaret Haughery, the Bread Lady, most successful business woman in New Orleans. Truth is, few businessmen did better.”

“Then why is she dressed so shabbily?” I looked up at the statue.

“Because that’s the way she always dressed. She lived like a pauper so she could feed all the beggars in this town. Crazy woman.” The businessman shook his head, but his voice sounded more admiring than derisive.

“She sounds like a remarkable woman,” I said. “But why does it only say ‘Margaret?’”

“Tourist, you be, eh?” The Irish woman grinned at me. “It doesn’t have to say anything else. Everyone in New Orleans knows who Margaret was.”

The small crowd I had attracted seemed most eager to tell me Margaret’s history, each of them adding this story or that recollection. I was able to piece together her biography.

Margaret’s family had left Ireland for America to escape hardship, but it just hunted them down. Margaret was left a homeless orphan at the age of nine. As was the custom of the day, she was taken in by a family as a servant “to earn her board and keep.” Margaret never learned to read and write, but she did learn to work.

At twenty-one she married Charles Haughery. He was a sickly man, so they moved from Baltimore to the warmer climate of New Orleans. It didn’t help. At twenty-three Margaret became a widow and single mother. A few months later she lost her baby, too.

Her world in shambles, Margaret took all that well-deserved self-pity and turned it outward. She decided to dedicate her life to feeding all the other widows and orphans of New Orleans. She did not take into account she could hardly feed herself. Worse yet, yellow fever had produced thousands of widows and orphans in this city, but that didn’t stop her.

Margaret worked hard, somehow managing two save enough to buy two cows. She started delivering milk. Soon she had a dairy with forty cows. She gave the orphan asylums a generous discount. When even that was too much, she just gave them the milk.

She became a baker, starting the first “steam and mechanical” bakery in the south. It wasn’t so much a bakery as a bread factory. Selling millions of loaves, she gave bread away to anyone who couldn’t pay. She even gave bread to winos, although she did break the loves in half so they couldn’t sell them to buy more alcohol.

During the Civil War, New Orleans was occupied by the Union Army, and under the thumb of General Benjamin Butler. He censored the local newspapers, closed churches and arrested ministers who refused to pray for Lincoln, and hung a man for tearing down an American flag. Most controversial was his law that any lady who showed any contempt for a Union soldier would be treated as a prostitute. This horrified the genteel Southerners and earned him the nickname “the Beast.”

Butler also put in a strict curfews and barriers. When Margaret broke them to deliver bread and milk to the poor, she was arrested and brought before Butler. He told her to obey the law or she would be shot or hung. Margaret looked him in the eye and said, “So, does Lincoln want the poor to starve?” Butler replied "You are not to go through the picket lines without my permission, is that clear?" Then looking into that fearless face he added, “All right, you have my permission.”

Margaret’s businesses did not suffer after the war like so many, but continued to grow. She started four orphanages. Other orphanages and poor asylums she gave generously to, regardless of color, nationality or religion. It’s estimated she gave over $600,000 to charity, back when that was a huge fortune.

Even the rich owed her, for many came to her for business advice, that helped them to get richer.

Three years ago, Margaret died at the age of sixty-nine. She was given a state funeral and local businesses closed for a day of mourning. Among her pall-bearers was the mayor and governor. The crowd could not fit into the church, but spilled out of it for a block.

The grieving city decided to build her a memorial. Rather than something grandiose, a lifelike statue of Margaret was decided upon. No large sums of money were accepted, so everyone could have a part in contributing. $6,000 was raised in nickels and dimes. The statue was unveiled July of last year by the orphans.

Several people assured me this was the first statue erected for a woman in the United States. I did some research and found it’s really the second. It is certainly the first for a female philanthropist and the first for a woman in the south.

My history teachers drifted off, going about their business. I continued to study the statue. No, it wasn’t a beautiful young woman personifying a lofty idea. Instead it was an beautiful old lady personifying several lofty ideas.

Pity I am too late to meet Margaret Haughery. Perhaps another time. If I ever return to New Orleans in an earlier year, I will certainly have to look her up. Maybe I can get her to take a break for a few minutes, while I brew her a cup of well deserved tea.

Today is the feast day of Margaret Gaffney Haughery...
Find the story here.

More info on "St. Margaret"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Superbowl Ad!

I posted last Friday that Fox had decided NOT to allow a commercial referencing John 3:16..but am glad to say they relented and showed it right before the beginning of the 4th quarter.

The ad did not include any type of preaching but offers viewers a simple explanation of the verse’s meaning, starting from why the world isn’t quite right to Jesus Christ giving his life for everyone and him being the only hope.

Way to go Fox!

Monday, February 7, 2011

If we could talk to the animals...

Even if you're too young to remember Johnny Carson's Show, this is worth a watch.

It's gray, rainy, getting colder with snow in the forecast and it's Monday! I needed a laugh!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Just because it's funny...

Grandson and I are going to a birthday party for a 6 year old friend today. Even though this video has nothing to do with birthday parties, it does star a pint sized person...

and also, just because it's funny!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Superbowl Ad

Sunday evening a majority of the households in America will be tuned in to the Superbowl. This years contest is between Green Bay and Pittsburgh and it's the very last game of this NFL season...for those die hard fans, it will be 6 months or more before they see a game!

While many watch for the game itself, there are others who simply watch for the half time show...and of course, there is a blitz of new commercials to be aired. While Fox has every right to pick and choose which organizations get to pay the astronomical sums of money to show their commercials I admit I am confused.

What would be the problem with airing the following:

One of the most well known verses from the Bible. 30 seconds...and the verse is not even spoken. Is it really a problem? Fox has stated it will not air it because the commercial contains "religious doctrine". In light of the content of all the other commercials (i.e. beer commercials seen by alcoholics, etc.) Does their refusal bother you one way or the other?

I hope you dance...

Having two children of my own...a grandson in my home...and being fortunate enough to be allowed to work with the young people of our church...I think often of the general and as it applies to each of them. This is one of my prayers:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Memory of

...the four Chaplains who died on February 3, 1943:
Rabbi Alexander Goode, Jewish
Rev. George L. Fox, Methodist
Rev. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed
Father John P. Washington, Catholic

Read their story here

"It was the finest thing I have ever seen this side of Heaven"
a Survivor

Groundhogs and the weather...

Yesterday was Groundhog's Day and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. Hurray! Spring will come early this year...well, at least that's what tradition says.

The Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a German superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

In the southern part of the US where I live we've seen unusal amounts of snowfall this winter. Frankly, our blood is just too thin to stand much more. While I do commiserate with our Northern brothers and sisters who are in the midst of record snowfalls, this is supposed to be the "Sunny South"! Personally I'm ready to start planting the garden!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

St. Brigid

May the power of Brigid inspire you,
the grace of Brigid attend you,
the flame of Brigid enliven you,
the story of Brigid engage you.

May the God who provided her all these gifts
provide them also to us,
that we may go into the world
with her lavish generosity
and her creative fire.

February 1 is the Feast of St. Brigid of Kildare, the beloved Irish saint. Born in the middle of the 5th century, Brigid became a powerful leader of the early church in Ireland. She established a number of monastic communities around Ireland, the most famous of which was the double monastery (including both women and men) of Cill Dara ("The Church of the Oak"), now known as Kildare.

The earliest writing about Brigid is in a text called "Ultan's Hymn" that dates to perhaps the 7th century. It refers to Brigid as a "golden, sparkling flame." The presence of fire pervades her stories, testimony to the sacred power that permeated her life.

Renowned for her hospitality ("Every guest is Christ," Brigid said), she had a remarkable gift for welcoming others. The ancient stories about Brigid are attended by the miraculous: in the face of hunger, illness, and injustice, or the simple lack of something that would complete a feast, Brigid worked wonders by which people received what they needed, whether it was the filling of hunger, or healing, or being set straight—or having all the makings for a festive meal.

For centuries, Brigid has enchanted the imaginations of folks both within and beyond Ireland. A compelling woman in her own right, Brigid's enduring popularity owes something as well to the fascinating legends that have accumulated around her. Some of my favorite tales are those that place Brigid at the birth of Christ, calling her the midwife to Mary and the foster mother of Jesus—an honored role in Celtic society. So great was Brigid's power, evidently, that it could extend even to time as she slipped backward across centuries in order to be present for the birth of the Christ whom she loved completely.

Brigid's appeal is connected also with the fact that her stories and symbols resonate with those of a Celtic goddess named Brigid, who was described as a goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft. Although it's often assumed that Brigid the goddess simply put on a Christian cloak to become Brigid the saint, it's quite possible that it worked in the opposite direction. Scholar Lisa Bitel suggests that those who were writing down the stories of Brigid the saint drew upon the nexus of symbols, powers, and qualities of the pre-Christian Celtic goddesses, in order to underscore her miraculous abilities with imagery that would have been familiar to that culture.

It's not really important just how the evolution of Brigid took place: what emerges from the intertwining of history and legend is a remarkable woman who continues to intrigue and to inspire. Brigid helped to transform the landscape of early Christian Ireland, and continues to exert her transforming power now.

One of Brigid's legacies is a present-day community that takes its name from her. More than a decade ago, Mary Stamps established Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery, a community that draws from both Methodist and Benedictine traditions. Brigid was known as a bridge-builder and a threshold figure, symbolized in the story that tells that her mother, Broicsech, gave birth to her as she crossed through the doorway into her house. This threshold, bridge-building quality imbues the monastery that bears Brigid's name.

Mary Stamps is a longtime friend, and I've been part of Saint Brigid's since its early days. It is one of the great gifts in my life. Saint Brigid's is made up of women and men, both single and married, lay and clergy. We stretch across the United States and into the Dominican Republic, finding creative ways to tend our life together.

You can find out more about the community at Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery. (info shared above is from a blog by Jan L. Richardson)

She is a most interesting person in Christiantiy...You can find more information about St. Brigid here...


Timothy Dalrymple has written a wonderful piece answering the question...Why do we have children?

"...We have no choice but to give ourselves for our children, but we learn that in giving ourselves we receive our selves. In the frailty of this little form that called such an immense love out of me, this bundle of winsome life and running legs and embracing arms, I share in the quintessentially human condition of loving recklessly what is fragile, fleeting, and at risk. There is nothing for it; I cannot help myself. Even at thirteen months, my daughter was sweet and vulnerable and of immeasurable sacred worth. She was not perfect, but she was everything that was good in me, and yet so much better, the highest art I had created, my only true thing in a counterfeit world. She was my little girl. She still is, and always will be. And the joy of loving and being loved by her—well, it was worth any sacrifice and any risk."

He put into words the emotions I have felt for child and grandchild and they are painful yet sweet. Read the entire piece here.