Archive for December 2010

Scrapbooking   Leave a comment

I have been working on a scrapbooking project this week. We have about 3,000 pictures that we have taken out of photo albums my mom put together and are putting them into an acid-free environment in scrapbooks.  Not content to just put the pictures on the page with captions like my mom did, we are scrapbooking the pages as we go — enhancing them, adding do-dahs and gee-haws, funny and clever things, artistic touches —- all the things you do when you scrapbook.

The project has been on hold for two and a half years and so I have been doing marathon work on it this week since I’m off.  One other sister has been helping me this week, and all three of my sisters have contributed to the pages in the album. 

It got me thinking — can my life be reduced to a few pictures on a page, with some captions and pretty stickers and paper?  What will my nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews think when they see those pages?  “Who are these people?”  “They sure dressed funny back then”?  “This is boring”. 

Or will they, like me, when they see those pictures, have their imagination sparked?  Looking at each one closely, they try to picture what was going on at the time, what is outside the boundaries of the pictures, what came before and after the picture was taken.  Will they, like me, be thankful they can see the people who came before them, who they are related to, who perhaps they knew only a little or had only heard of?  Will they enjoy these books as much as I have enjoyed putting them together? 

School Pictures


Fun in the park page

Posted December 31, 2010 by Maureen in Art (if you wanna call it that), Musings

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Am I a Failure?   Leave a comment

I was musing to myself the other day over the —- ordeal —- of looking for a husband.  What a lot of time I’ve spent!  What a lot of men I’ve met!  How long is this going to go ON????  And then the thought: I am a failure.

Wait — what?  Where did that come from?  Why am I failure?

When I was growing up I always had some vague idea that I would meet a man I would fall in love with, get married, have at least two children, and live with my husband all my life until one of us died.  Raising children, buying a house, being grandparents.  You know — all that and a stack of pancakes. 

And instead…… I am 51 years old with one marriage behind me that only lasted four and a half years.  Notice I always mention the “and a half” part.  I have always felt that I failed at one of the most important relationships a woman can have in her life.  It wasn’t all my failure, no.  But I take responsibility for the parts that were mine.  And I failed, plain and simple. 

Does that make me a failure in life?  I seem to think so.  I can’t seem to help it.  I have always thought I’d be married by this time in life.  I thought I’d have a home and two cars and several grandchildren to show for it.  I thought I’d be sitting with my husband in the living room watching TV every night.  And I’m not.  And there is no chance in the forseeable future that any of that will happen.  Even the sitting and watching TV part.

And in my own eyes, in my own brain — that makes me a failure.

Posted December 29, 2010 by Maureen in Being Single, Musings

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Look what followed me home….   Leave a comment

The Moon Followed Me Home

The moon followed me home last night.
She was shining full in the sky as I made my weary way
up the hill, around, then down.
North, west, then turning south
she still followed me, staying above me
shining her light, hanging full and round in the sky.

She lit up the clouds as if it were day.
She lit the Bay waters and obscured the twinkling stars.
She followed me all the way home, watching
me safely inside

When I curled up, warm and sleepy,
she continued her stately walk through the heavens.
Her light shone on the hills.
Her light cast shadows of the trees.
Her light danced and skipped on the sea,
bathing the swells and curls with
silvery light

The moon followed me home last night.
“Can I keep her?” I whispered sleepily
as I dropped off to sleep.

Posted December 22, 2010 by Maureen in Musings, Poems

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Christian Dating   1 comment

When I first started dating (many, many years ago in a galaxy far, far away) I had no idea how to do it.  I was living in Washington State, away from my close girl friends, and was not close to my mom.  My sisters lived in another state, except for my little sister who was too young to advise me.  So I fumbled my way through it.

Skip ahead many years (in a different galaxy, far far away).  I started dating again, but this time I was a born-again Christian.  Much older.  Wiser?  Well, that’s debatable.  The thing is — I still had almost no clue how to go about dating.  And I truly, really, had NO idea how to date as a Christian.

So I fumbled and stumbled my way through it, getting my heart-broken and experiencing rejection after rejection.  At least, that is the way it felt.  Well, it has taken me two years, but I do believe I have learned some lessons. 

Do I have it all figured out?  Not by a long shot!  Don’t ask me for advice unless you want to hear it from someone who has life experience and knowledge but is still mostly clueless!  But I have learned to pray and seek God during and through the dating process.  And since God (praise and bless His holy name) is so much wiser and loving than I am, I am being guided and directed much better.  I am still fumbling around in the dark, so to speak, but I don’t stumble very much since I have God’s light to lead me at any time I ask it of him.  Thank you, God!!

Posted December 19, 2010 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian, Randomness

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Contemplating Joy   3 comments

“Christmas is a season of joy, for it was birthed in joy.” 

How can we have joy?  How can we seek it, grab hold of it, hold onto it?  Almost everyone has had joy in their lives at some point.  Woe to the person who hasn’t!  How awful to think about that. 

The thing about joy that is different from other emotions is that you can’t force it.  You can’t work toward it to bring it up and experience it.  Joy comes from outside yourself. I believe it comes from God as a gift.  And I believe it is a response to our relationship with God.

Even those who don’t believe in God can be joyful when they hold a little baby.  Or get licked by a dog or cat.  Or enjoy the beautiful night sky.  God can (and does) give them that gift even if they don’t acknowledge or are even aware that it is God they are rejoicing in.

Rejoice.  Re — joy.  I like it.  Nice word.  I wish you joy.  I wish you the peace that passes understanding, and deep joy that radiates out from you to others.

Posted December 14, 2010 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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Good night, good morning   Leave a comment

Like a warm blanket being pulled over shoulders,
I drove home in twilight and fog.
Tiny stars were twinkling overhead;
the fog was floating, ethereal
blurring everything, making headlights look owlish.
The quarter moon hung in the western sky
gauzy from the fog and clouds, shining brightly.
Past Christmas lights and stop lights,
I pull into the driveway, to home.

Like a blanket slowly pulling back from feet,
the morning woke slowly during my commute.
Fog blanketed the coast,
shapes and lights appearing and disappearing
in the floating white whisps.
Then over the hill – the orange sun bursting from
the retreating cloud cover.
Blue sky peeked while the clouds were
slowly drawn back.
The sun lit the hills and water,
chasing away the clouds, bringing light.
The day is starting joyfully.

Posted December 12, 2010 by Maureen in Poems

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Have a Mary Christmas   Leave a comment

I wish for you to have a Mary Christmas.  No, that is not a typo.  Mary – as in the mother of Jesus.  Joseph’s wife.  That Mary.

Mary is one of the central characters in the true Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.  Over the centuries she has been lifted up, worshiped, discarded, speculated about, and archtyped.  (to coin a word) 

I have always seen Mary as the quiet presence, the one who held it together, the one who did what she had to do because someone had to do it and she was that someone.  I always thought Mary had great faith.  When the shepherds came to them to see the baby Jesus and told her and Joseph about what they had seen and been told, the Bible says about Mary’s reaction, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I have always identified with Mary, because she reminds me of myself.

The Bible gives us few clues as to the person she was.  She was young.  How young?  I have heard as young as 13.  The Bible does not say, but I have always placed her age in my own mind at around 17 or 18.  Joseph was most likely older – possibly in his late 20’s.  She was, we hope, a woman in love.  She was engaged to Joseph and our best guesses are that it was not an arranged marriage, so she must have loved him and sweetly and happily anticipated marriage to him.

She was a Jew, and based on the little the Bible says we can guess she was devout in her faith.  She lived in a small town, which means everyone knew everyone else.  Their business, what they had for dinner, who argued with who, who was sick, who were the trouble makers, who to go to for help, who everyone’s fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers were.  Despite the Roman occupation and the fact that Galilee in general was despised by the Jews to the South, I have always pictured Mary’s life as one of peaceful, small town-ish, quietness.  She may have been pleased to be marrying Joseph, who was a hard worker and we hope his business was a good one.  She may have looked forward to raising children in that town, that area, and living a long time with Joseph there.

And one day, that changed.  We don’t know what Mary was doing when the angel spoke to her.  We know she listened. We know she obeyed. I can’t imagine how hard the pregnancy was for her.  Pregnant!  Before marriage!  No matter what she said or what Joseph said – no one was going to believe she was still a virgin with a baby growing inside her.  In a small town like that it must have set tongues wagging and heads shaking.  And then Joseph did not have her stoned.  Or even divorce her quietly.  They went right on with the wedding plans while she slowly got bigger and bigger.  Scandal!  Shock!  The pressure on her must have been enormous.  Joseph could be excused from blame, and he could find another.  But Mary would have that baby the rest of her life and would have a hard time getting another man to accept her. 

And what was Mary’s reaction to this?  What was her response when the angel told her she would be pregnant – would hold God’s very own son inside herself?  She must have known what the repercussions of that declaration would be.  Angel or no – it was a hard thing to accept.  To go out on a limb like that, to face the scandal and gossip and shame.  To face family pressures and possibly the loss of friends.  I can picture Mary, sitting in the light, absorbing the words of the angel, thinking, contemplating.  The repercussions clicking one by one in her head.  And what was her response?

“I am the Lord’s servant”, Mary said.  “May it be to me as you have said”. (Luke 1:38)

And that is why I wish you a Mary Christmas.  We should all be so open, so willing, and so obedient to what God tells us or asks us.  Despite the odds and opposition and our own failings and shortcomings — we should all have that same response to God. 

Have a Mary Christmas!

Posted December 7, 2010 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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Witness   Leave a comment

I was raised in a large Catholic-Irish family.  We went to church on a regular basis.  Being raised in the Catholic church instilled in me a deep reverence and respect for God and His church.  I don’t remember a time in my life when I did not believe in God – the creator of the heavens and earth.  Our heavenly father and his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

When I became an adult I married a Catholic man.  We went to church together and had the same faith, but our marriage ended after a few short years.  I was invited to a Christian Singles group by a friend.  Wanting to adult fun things without doing a bar scene, I started attending the group.  I noticed most of the people there had something I didn’t.  I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I wanted it.  I enjoyed the group a lot and met some really terrific people.

One of the people I met was a man named Ed.  I stopped by the house Ed shared with others one evening at his invitation.  It was not a date – we had been talking about books at a meeting and Ed had said he had a lot of Christian books.  Having been an avid reader since I was in the 3rd grade I was fascinated that there were Christian books out there.  I was eager to read them.  Ed let me look through his whole book collection, and I eagerly pulled books that caught my eye until I had a pile on the floor.  He eyed the pile and remarked that some of those books were kind of heavy reading, and was I sure I wanted to do this?  I assured him I did.

One of the first books I read (probably because it was also one of the shortest) was “How to Live Like a Kings Kid” by Harold Hill.  In that book was a “sinners prayer”.  A simple prayer of confession and belief, asking God to forgive me and asking Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior.  THAT was it!  This was the something that others in the group had that I didn’t.  I knew this was what I was looking for.  I said the prayer to myself, sitting at the kitchen table in my apartment by myself.

Immediately I felt a peace come over me, and love flow through me.  The knot of anxiety and fear and doubt that had been a part of me and a lump in my gut as long as I remember was gone.  Smiling, I continued reading. 

Since that time I have sought God, and found him.  I have discovered the names of the gifts God gave to me before I was born, and I have tried to use them to bring glory to His name and spread His love.  I have continued to grow in my faith and knowledge of God and his Word.  I have not always walked closely with God, but my faith is a strong rock, my bedrock on which my life stands, and even if I should forsake all else I cannot ever forsake my faith and belief in God, the creator almighty, maker of heaven and earth and everything in them. 

I thank God that He forgave me my sins and that I have accepted Jesus God’s only son personally for myself as my Lord and Savior.  Do you want the same thing?  Do you also want to be free and forgiven, to have joy and love?  Say this prayer, or use your own words to say these words:

“I confess that I am sinner and that nothing I can do or say can take away those sins.  I believe in the one God, the creator of everything seen and unseen.  I believe that God sent his only son Jesus into the world as a man, who lived and then died on the cross and was ressurrected.  God please forgive me of my sins.  I accept Jesus into my heart and life as my Savior. Reveal your Word to me and help me to use the gifts you have given me to bring glory to you.”

Posted December 6, 2010 by Maureen in Christian

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Adult Children   Leave a comment

I’m not going to talk about those wonderful adults who retain the best of child-like qualities.  A sense of wonder.  A sense of fun.  Trusting.  Giving.  Loving.

No, what is on my mind are those adults who, into their 40’s, 50’s and beyond, still act as if they are in, oh, maybe the 8th grade.  They are still using the same coping and communication skills they used when they were 13.  It doesn’t work so well for them now that they are 42, as you can imagine.  But it is all they know, so they are stickin’ with it. 

They flounce.  They pout.  They get red in the face.  They deflect and minimize when arguing.  They don’t take personal responsibility.  They do things like gossip behind someone’s back. I had someone just recently literally turn her back on me as I was sitting at a table of people, effectively blocking me from the conversation. 

Now, a 13-year-old I know how to deal with.  I know how to face those behaviors and work with them.  A 49-year-old?  Um….. not so much.  At this point, honey, you really should have figured it out for yourself.  And if you are STILL doing this behavior at your age, when the rest of us have matured and moved on to more adult ways to communicate and express our feelings…… then I don’t know what to say to you. 

Build a bridge and get over it.  Pay attention and change your behavior.  Catch a ride on the clue bus.  Or how about: G-r-o-w   U–P!!!!!

Posted December 3, 2010 by Maureen in Musings

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