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Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Poem for Your Pocket Today

Celebrate "A Poem for Your Pocket" Today!  Here's one for you.


A Poem for Your Pocket
 
Keep a poem in your pocket
and happiness in your heart
any rhythm, song, or style
is the perfect way to start.
 
Every day you greet the sun
or observe the evening moon
rise above the ocean tide
for each day is gone too soon.
 
Keep a poem in your pocket
while you travel through each day
with so many things to do
we need time to think and pray
 
Each day a gift from heaven
and we never know how long
our time on earth is precious
every breath a rhythmic song.
 
Keep a poem in your pocket
inspiration in your heart
building bridges through the day
lighting candles in the dark.
 
Leave a legacy of love
for the world to see quite clear
all the reasons God in heaven
let your life and times shine here.
 
Keep a poem in your pocket
as you go about your day
take time for work and service
give yourself some time to play.
 
The world has many wonders
that includes your life and times
filled with beauty, joy, and wonder
and a multitude of rhymes.
 
 
Special Dedication
Please consider reading the following link.  A beautiful young woman attending Texas A&M recently and unexpectedly passed away following a brief illness. Her family has established a scholarship fund in honor of Christy Crow's  desire to become a teacher.  She was much loved and will be deeply missed.  Read more about her story.  Today is her birthday and the above poem is dedicated to her and to her family.  I worked with her aunt, Mary Angela, several years ago and this tragedy has had an impact on me.  I think about my own three children and cannot imagine how heartbreaking this has been for the family.  I am humbled by their ability to see the sunshine through their sorrow to establish this fund and make sure Christy's legacy continues. The following was posted by her brother today on Facebook.
 
 

2 hrs ·
Today is especially exciting, its Christy's birthday! I can remember that day vividly, 4-24-94, my dad had bought us floor seats to the Rockets game. I remember sitting at my Aunt Ree and Uncle Harry's house waiting...and waiting...and waiting for him to pick me up, but he was running late for one reason...my mom was going into labor. To this day my dad tells this story saying "I knew it had to be a girl, cause no son of mine would make me miss a Rockets game!" HA!! Fortunately, our Aunt Sissy was gracious enough to come and sit with my mom, while my dad and I made it for the remainder of the game. Happy 20th birthday Christy! I know you're up there partying with old family, friends, and Jesus! Enjoy today's photo!
 
Today is especially exciting, its Christy's birthday! I can remember that day vividly, 4-24-94, my dad had bought us floor seats to the Rockets game. I remember sitting at my Aunt Ree and Uncle Harry's house waiting...and waiting...and waiting for him to pick me up, but he was running late for one reason...my mom was going into labor. To this day my dad tells this story saying "I knew it had to be a girl, cause no son of mine would make me miss a Rockets game!" HA!! Fortunately, our Aunt Sissy was gracious enough to come and sit with my mom, while my dad and I made it for the remainder of the game. Happy 20th birthday Christy! I know you're up there partying with old family, friends, and Jesus! Enjoy today's photo!


Heaven's Newest Angel

  Australian Crystal Cross with Angel Wings Magnetic Pendant
 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 24th is "Poem in Your Pocket" Day

I've finally decided that it would be fun to share some poems with the residents at the Senior Retirement/Memory Care/Assisted Living facility where my husband is the Executive Chef.  So for "Poem in Your Pocket Day", here are a few of my favorites.  You can see a few more at Poetry.com
 

Holding On

by: Mary Varville Rodriguez


The wind blows
a blade of grass
and three million
multi-hued earthen threads
reach for the clouds-
stranded in an upright salute
yet struggling to regain
their composure as they
battle with vertigo.
How wonderful to have roots
and keep from losing your place!

Poem in Your Pocket Day
April 24, 2014
Promoted by:
Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree
(Parenting Observations, Insights, and Inspirations)
http://www.poetztree.blogspot.com
Baby's Books & Bubbles, Oh My!
(Books and Activities for Young Children)
http://babysbooksandbubblesohmy.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-bookless-story-time-and-other.html


Rain
By Mary Varville Rodriguez

Rain hovers
over my head
where it waits
expectantly
for me to reach out
face upturned
eyes open
arms reaching
like human branches
rooted to the earth
of my soul
where I long
for its release.



Poem in Your Pocket Day
April 24, 2014
Promoted by: Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree
(Parenting Observations, Insights, and Inspirations)
http://www.poetztree.blogspot.com
Baby's Books & Bubbles, Oh My!
(Books and Activities for Young Children)http://babysbooksandbubblesohmy.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-bookless-story-time-and-other.html


Linens on the Line

By Mary B. Varville Rodriguez

The scent of freshly washed linens
hangs on a line to dry outside.
A soft breath of air
blows cool, wet cotton sheets
against my face.
The gentle sunlight
draws my mother's shape;
a shadow on the other side
of the billowy partition.
My three-year-old self
is comforted by that form;
knowing she has not disappeared.
I hold out my arms
face turned up to the blue,
pillow-topped sky;
waiting for the next breeze
to embrace my small body
in a cool whisper from
linens on the line.

Poem in Your Pocket Day
April 24, 2014
Promoted by:
Reflections Beneath The Poetz Tree
(Parenting Observations, Insights, and Inspirations)
 http://www.poetztree.blogspot.com
Baby's Books & Bubbles, Oh My!
(Books and Activities for Young Children)
http://babysbooksandbubblesohmy.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-bookless-story-time-and-other.html


I just need to print these, roll them, and add a sticker to seal them.  My husband will take them for delivery when he goes to work.  A Special Thanks to:

Books, Babies, and Bows Blogger for encouraging this amazing project. http://www.booksbabiesandbows.com/

 
 More information on "Poem in Your Pocket Day"
 

 



The following graphic is provided via the link:
 


Poem in Your Pocket Day


Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Blessing for Food Baskets - Variations on An Easter Tradition - BOLDOG HÚSVÉTI ÜNNEPEKET ÉS SOK PIROS TOJÁST!

Since childhood our family has had an Easter Tradition that transcends any chocolate bunny or gourmet flavored jelly bean you might encounter at his time of year.  My mother is from Hungary.  She came to the United States as a young girl and earned her US citizenship at the age of eighteen.  My mother may have been forced to leave her country, but the special details surrounding each Easter remain embedded in our tradition.  This year I am on my own again with regard to carrying on the annual Easter Food Basket Blessing.  I have to admit that I still feel less than adequate when it comes to fully immersing myself in the preparations.  Last year we lived closer and I took on a more passive role.  I miss that!

My mother is the Hungarian version of Martha Stewart, The Barefoot Contessa, and Cristina Ferrare (collectively they are amazing hostesses, decorators, and culinary geniuses).  Every memory I have of my childhood includes how effortlessly mom made it look to pull together festive celebrations for our holidays...birthdays too.  Everything happened organically. Home made foods, gifts, and entertainment served with heaping helpings of love were always on the menu.  I believe she made such an effort because of how hard she worked as a child and as a young woman.  The many challenges she faced as an immigrant were woven into every molecule of tradition and culture that she shared with her husband, six children, and the many friends we welcomed along the way.
 
This Easter my children and I are living a bit like gypsies...most of our things are still in storage in another state.  We are sharing a two bedroom apartment...we get one of the rooms.  So...basically we're living "European Style" in our quaint little flat and have pretty much taken on a minimalist approach.  Truth be told...I kind of like it.  Less material possessions means minimal clean up and more reasons to get out of the apartment like back in the day when I lived in Germany.  (I miss my little efficiency from those years.)  The drawbacks include not having all my kitchen items for cooking, no room to do my own decorating (the other renter already had everything in place when we got here), and my favorite basket that I purchased in Germany is in storage.  So...adaptations to the Easter Food Basket had to be made today when my children and I went to the church this morning. 
 
My mother always spent Good Friday preparing the items that needed to go into the basket as we headed to church on Saturday morning.  At the church the priest would bless the food we planned to eat on Easter Sunday after mass.  The menu usually included: Home Baked Bread, Butter, Hard Boiled Eggs (later to be made into "Heavenly Eggs" because you couldn't call blessed eggs "Deviled" now, could you?), Ham, Horse Radish, Garlic, Salt and Pepper.  It was a very simple meal that involved many hours of prep time.  We were convinced the food tasted better after being blessed and we always seemed to eat more too.  I always loved the smell of freshly baked bread...still do.  Sometimes mom would make a smaller loaf so we could have a taste right out of the oven.  Pure slice of heaven!
 
Memories are great.  They are also painfully hard to live up to when the bar has been set so high.  Still...I am determined to share this tradition with my own children.  So here's my modified menu that mirrors my childhood even if it will never totally duplicate the amazing gift my mom gave to me and my siblings.  The entire sensory experience of Easter always culminated in our special blessed meal...and that is what we will have tomorrow...my version.  (But Mom...I will still miss being there with all of you!)
 

Baked Bread (Using frozen dough that had to proof for 6 hours covered in plastic wrap) Still smelled amazing fresh from the oven even if I didn't mix the dough by hand
 
Ham (Pre-cooked 3# ham from the store.  Just needs to be warmed up)
 
Eggs (I did hard boil these myself)
 
Garlic Salt/Regular Salt/Pepper (I took large portions to be blessed and labeled the containers when we got home.  Every time I use them I will be reminded of our special tradition.  And according to my mom, the food will always taste better since it is blessed.)
 
Butter (I purchased this too.  And no, I did not make a "Lamb" mold out of butter.  But if you do this I am quite impressed.  It's just not me and that's ok)
 


My children and I  had one more hurdle to encounter.  Since our family's traditional "basket"  is in storage, we needed something in which to transport our food.  We got to church and placed our food on a special table that had been set up near the altar.  I smiled as I saw the collection of items placed there by the families who participated in this cultural display.  There was a large basket with beautiful embroidered linens...later the family shared that the basket was 60 years old and the linens were hand designed in 1921.  Other baskets were adorned with curling ribbons and tiny fabric flowers.  Most were draped with fancy towels or lace.  The priest arrived and offered some readings from the gospel and psalms.  He then encourage everyone to gather around the table to share what they put into their baskets.  I loved this part!
 
The food blessing is part of many Eastern European cultures, so I was not surprised to see similar items in other family's baskets.  As I shared my mother's Hungarian tradition, I reached for the carrier of our items and smiled.  "Our basket is in storage," I admitted as I retrieved a pretty blue canvas eco-friendly shopping bag.  Everyone smiled back.  The best part was that I was totally more ok with my blue bag than I anticipated.  It was more important that I made it to the church with all the items I intended.  My children were calm and interested for a few moments. (A Bonus!)  Plus I had the opportunity to reconnect with a family tradition that is near and dear to my heart. 
 
Tomorrow I will corral my children, make sure they we will get into the van with clothing and shoes intact, and we will make it to church on time.  After mass, we will come home and partake of the blessed food while I remember the many Easters of my childhood.  Hopefully this will be a good memory for my children too.  Blending familiar traditions with the adaptations of present day can be a daunting task.  But I think I'm doing ok.  I need to remind myself of that from time to time.  But I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that feeling.
 
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this special time of year.  Our family wishes you wonderful times together, special memories of loved ones present and past, and the opportunity to pass along culture and tradition to the next generation.  Blessings to You!
 
 
More Information about the Tradition of Easter Food Blessing
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
BOLDOG HÚSVÉTI ÜNNEPEKET ÉS SOK PIROS TOJÁST!
 
The following photo is attributed to the link:
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Benefits of Sign Language

Monday, April 7, 2014

Things That Only I Can Do...April is Poetry Month

 
 Things That Only I Can Do
 
 
There are things that only I can do
as Mom in charge around here.
There are things that only I can do
let me make this perfectly clear.
 
Only I as Mom can change the roll
of toilet paper gone.
Only I retrieve the paper
that's been thrown upon the lawn.
 
It is I who wake each sleepy child
for school at start of day
with songs and hugs and kisses
though in bed they'd rather stay.

Only I as Mom will understand
the grumpy, sassy talk
and with firm yet loving voice respond
"Let's go or you shall walk."
  
There are things that only I can do
as Mom in charge around here.
There are things that only I can do
let me make this perfectly clear.
 
Only I as Mom will rinse the sink
of toothpaste, spit, and yuck.
Only I as Mom will wait for you
and help if you get stuck.

It is I who cuts the T-Shirt tags
because they itch and scratch.
Only I your Mom will cheer you on
when your socks and shoes don't match.
 
Only I as Mom can magically find
that special toy you lost.
Only I as Mom will tell you ,"NO".
and then explain the cost.

 There are things that only I can do
as Mom in charge around here.
There are things that only I can do
let me make this perfectly clear.

It is I who packs your lunches
and fills your bag with snacks.
Only I your Mom can understand
your tantrums and attacks.

Sometimes I want to run quite far
for just a moment of peace
A place where toilet paper rolls
will never have to cease.

A magic place where shoes and coats
just magically appear.
Where baths are drawn with bubbly warmth
and children want to hear.

Oh if I only I could have some time
 for stories, songs, and dance.
A place where children jump for joy
for homework - what's the chance?

There are things that only I can do
as Mom in charge around here.
There are things that only I can do
let me make this perfectly clear.

Oh...who am I now kidding?
Other people can do these things!
I am the one who chooses to
with all the Love it brings!

 
 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Met An Angel on The Treadmill - Remarkable Inspirations in Unexpected Places!

Last week I had to push myself to get to the gym.  Spring break had proven to be quite effective in depleting my energy.  In the process of  making sure my children had plenty to keep themselves occupied I had also challenged myself beyond the scope of basic motherly duties.  We started off our adventure with my Middle School child asking her friend to spend the weekend with us.
 
The girls are good kids.  When their limitless sense of humor and zest for all things dramatic, the weekend became a marathon of activities including Bowling (I had to be dragged kicking and screaming but ended up having fun), grocery shopping, movie watching, a "fashion show" (after they complained of being bored and I strongly advised them to conjure up some type of entertainment), painting, and creative snack preparations in the kitchen.  

My role was to run interference so the younger male siblings stayed out of their way and also had activities to keep from feeling like they had been abandoned on a deserted island without their electronic games and super hero gadgets.  Not an easy task!  All children managed to be kept alive and well throughout the weekend. I only threatened to run away twice and change my name to Gertrude. 

So it was with great relief when I was able to get to the gym to release some much needed endorphins.  I dropped off the boys at the Kid's Club while my daughter and I proceeded to the "Cardio Cinema."  To our delight it was empty, so we had our choice of equipment.  I was only 10 minutes into my workout when a gentleman who was probably in his early to mid 60's arrived.  He decided to use the treadmill next to mine and asked how to start it.  Perhaps he didn't know how it worked, but I began to suspect that he just needed to talk.

Turns out that talking to someone significantly shortens the time it takes to complete a workout.  During my 30 minute cardio session this gentleman proceeded to tell me about his work, that he just needed something to do since his retirement, and that the gym was closer to his job than the other gym where he had gone for several years.  I ended up talking about my writing projects and my career prior to becoming a stay at home mom. 

I was surprised how uplifting it felt to talk with someone who expressed an interest in my goals.  He encouraged me to continue with my projects and purse my dreams.  This was completely unexpected and was just what I needed.  I think he needed to talk too...sharing that his teenage daughter didn't really listen to what he had to say.  Perhaps this angel on the treadmill was placed there at that moment because I really needed that neutral person to lift my spirits.  It's not that my own little family doesn't care.  I think sometimes people closest to you are unable to truly see your vision or support your dreams.  Heck, I've even had supervisors who discouraged my dreams of becoming a published writer.

So the moral of this story:  Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone and find inspiration in unexpected places.  I once attended a conference given by an amazing Inspirational Speaker, Mikki Williams.  She gave us several examples of opportunities that presented themselves because she went out of her way to engage individuals in conversations.  Doesn't matter how they look or where you meet.  Networking and just being open to interactions can open doors and lead to great things.

When I went to the gym I never expected to leave feeling so energetic, encouraged, and inspired.  Perhaps it was coincidence.  But I'd like to think that I had just met an "Angel on the Treadmill."  You see...angels are not necessarily those cute, cherubic entities with wings and chubby cheeks.  An angel can be anyone who offers encouragement, a few kind words, and a genuine smile that radiates beyond their eyes.  When we left the gym, my daughter looked at me, smiled, and said, "Mom, I think you really needed that.  You look so happy that you got to talk about your writing today!"

Hope you find ways to be inspired and to encourage others.  You could be someone's angel and not even realize it.  Taking time to reach out is beneficial to you and to the one with whom you share a few moments of conversation.  Have a wonderful week!

 
On My List of
Favorite Inspirational Speakers
 

 
Mikki Williams