Father’s Day – Bittersweet

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful, loving, awesome fathers out there.

Every day I am blessed to see wonderful interactions between men and their children. Many of us could write positive books about what we have seen men do for and with their children. Each of those men should really celebrate this day that is made to honor their accomplishments as a father.

I have two grandsons and a nephew who are celebrating their first ever Father’s Day. I believe they will continue to be the awesome dads that I have seen in the early interactions with their babies.

imageI am reminded of my own father, hard-working and caring and loving. He was a role model to all of us but has already been gone 30 plus years. He is remembered every Father’s Day and many other times. My grandfathers and uncles are also remembered this day.

This day is bittersweet for me and filled with a whole gamut of emotions. Although there are men in my life who are wonderful fathers, I am reminded of the fathers who are gone from this world too early, whose children had to grow up without them. I am sad for them and for their children.

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Sunset at the Santa Fe Homestead

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

                 Rabindranath Tagore

As I worked at my desk this evening, I glanced out the window and was mesmerized by the sunset.

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The trees have leafed out enough to frame the awesome sky.

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I stepped out on the deck and shot from several different angles.

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Finally, I stepped out of my front door and took a picture due west.

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I do not think of myself as much of a photographer, but I can hardly go wrong when nature provides me with such beauty.

A beautiful sunset, just another thread of my life.

Drop Everything and Read

imageApril 12 is a celebration for all of us who love reading and who love books.

It is D.E.A.R. day – Drop Everything and Read.

Really. A day is set aside for reading.  For those of us who claim that we never have enough time, this is the day to put any excuses aside and spend the whole day reading. We should not feel guilty about it or think of things that we are not getting done. We should just read.

In a book Ramona Quigley, Age 8 the author Beverly Cleary introduced the idea of D.E.A.R. Since then the day has been celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Continue reading

Easter Morning Musings

It is a beautiful Easter morning in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I woke up early to go Mass and celebrate the greatest of all events of Christianity: the day that Jesus was resurrected into heaven to atone for the sins of mankind.

There was a slight chill in the air but also the promise of a beautiful day.  As the congregation gathered there was a definite feeling of hope and peace and grace. The sun was just rising and it seemed to be peaking out from under clouds which soon dissipated. We were left with a beautiful sunshine filled day. image

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Santa Maria de la Paz Santa Fe, New Mexico

In his homily, the priest drew an analogy using Jesus’s tomb that was found empty by his disciples on Easter morning. We should each look at the tomb within us, and tombs within society, and strive to empty them of negative things: violence, or love of material objects, or gossip, or disrespect. These negative things within each of us should be replaced with love.

The message of seeking love and happiness is oft-repeated outside of the Christian tradition as well as within it.  Much is written about filling ourselves with happiness and going forward with a renewed sense of goodness.  Easter represents new life Christianity, and it is no mistake that Easter coincides with spring which is also a celebration of new life. Continue reading

Coincidence…or Something Else?

Occasionally in life certain series of events occur that could be sheer coincidence or could be affirmation that something more powerful than us causes things to happen.

I have had two such occurrences in recent years.

Exhibit A:

One of my step-sons who had four children was killed in a car accident in 2008. His wife, the mother of the children, was killed in an accident in 2013.  At that time the sons were 13, 17, 21 and 25. The oldest of the boys took in his two youngest brothers. The second son was in college.

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Play Is a Child’s Work

2 boys“I’m bored.”

“There is nothing to do.”

These comments are heard way too often from children today. In our world with small nuclear families, where we likely live far away from extended family, don’t know our neighbors, and worry about protecting our children from threats of society, the spontaneity of childhood is diminished. Play dates have to be scheduled. Children expect adults to provide activities to entertain them.  Contrast this with an agrarian society where children were first expected to do their chores and free time was easily filled with a diverse number of activities and interests. Even if they felt bored they were not likely to admit it lest they be assigned another chore.

Today kid’s lives are frequently too structured.  Children at times are scheduled very heavily into different adult-driven activities. They are too often given unlimited access to TV and electronic games. While these might have a place in a child’s life, the right balance needs to be developed. Children need to be able to explore and figure out things on their own and to be spontaneous without being directed by an adult.

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Harbingers of Spring

We have not had enough snow in New Mexico this winter.  We have not imageexperienced six feet of snow as did the northeastern part of the United States.  We did not have an ice storm that essentially shut down the city for much of a week as has happened in part of the country. Four to eight inches of snow were forecast over this past weekend.  Although it was spitting snow for a while we had no noticeable accumulation.

I stepped out on the back deck Sunday morning and I heard a chorus of birds singing loudly and beautifully.  We have a heated bird bath mounted on the deck and it was very busy.  The bird bath was visited by mountain chickadees and black-capped chickadees, sparrows, pine siskins and house finches, all of which we see consistently through the winter months.

imageThe special visitors yesterday were a group of robins cavorting in the bird bath in spite of the gray, frigid, windy conditions.  Once the robins have arrived, can spring be far behind?

Overnight temperatures are in the teens.  I hope those robins have adequate protection from the cold.

In the Nap of Luxury

imageA wintry storm had been forecast. Snow fell over night. The landscape looked  clean and beautiful with the newly fallen snow. Like any other typical week day I got myself up and dressed and went off to work.

It snowed all morning.  The office closed at noon and we were sent home. On the short, five-minute drive home I contemplated how to spend this precious block of unexpected, unscheduled time.  I could spend uninterrupted hours reading my current mystery novel.  Or stitching on my latest counted cross stitch project.  Or working a jigsaw puzzle.  Or playing in the snow with the dogs.  Long ago, back in my teaching days in Wisconsin when I was single, there were typically several snow days each winter.  I made up my mind then that I would not use a snow day working on either schoolwork or on chores around home. I decided the day was a precious gift and I would treat it as luxury free time and spend it doing something that I really enjoy. During my marriage and while raising a child, my time wasn’t really my own so I did not have the same freedom.  Now that I am a widowed empty nester, I once again have adopted the approach from my teaching days.

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Introverts Unite!

image I am an introvert.  I always have been and always will be.

There was a time when I struggled with being an introvert.  I longed to be the person who was always confident and charming in social situations, who could easily speak off the cuff without having to be prepared ahead of time, to not feel awkward when I was in a new situation, to be able to escape to that place where I could rejuvenate and be reflective without being thought of as anti-social.

People who know me (but not real well) and who have seen me in my professional life where I sometimes have to make presentations to large numbers of people do not understand that I am an introvert.  They see me as someone who is extremely competent which does not meld with their ideas of an introvert.  But they do not see the inner tug of war and the intense preparation I do to make myself come off as competent.  They see that in social situations with large groups of my colleagues I am quiet and withdrawn, but still they do not recognize that as being an aspect of being introverted.

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Snowfall at the Homestead

The high desert of northern New Mexico experiences winter in its grandeur.

Snow started falling yesterday morning and it fell intermittently all day.  The meteorologist calls it “a snow event”.   We have had very little snow so far this season and the land is thirsty for moisture.

Light snow in late afternoon
Light snow in late afternoon

The snow is beautiful.  The morning light displays the beauty at the Good Woman’s humble adobe abode.

The home's front entrance
The home’s front entrance
The piñon tree guarding the deck
The piñon tree guarding the deck
Desert plant surrounded by snow
Desert plant surrounded by snow
Shrubbery with a pristine coating of snow
Shrubbery with a pristine coating of snow
Hawthorn berries add a splash of red to the monochromatic landscape.
Hawthorn berries adding a splash of red to the monochromatic landscape
One of many bird feeders
One of many bird feeders

I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost

—Percy Bysshe Shelley