'Listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being.'
St. Paul of the Cross
Painting: H. A. Brendekilde, A Wooded Path in Autumn, 1902
'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear, though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.' The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (...but as for my own life, I shall just call it 'Conversion') Painting: Henry Ward Ranger, Autumn Woodlands
'We should never postpone a good work, no matter how small it may
be, with the thought of doing something greater. It is a very common
temptation of the enemy to be always placing before us the perfection of
things to come, causing us to make little of the present.' St. Ignatius Loyola
Painting: Charles Courtney Curran, in US public domain due to age
One thing I love about blog awards is being able to answer all the things. It's like settling back for a relaxing conversation with dear friends. In this case: you!
Laura at String of Pearls has generously nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you, Laura, for such a great honor! And while I'm going to break bend the official Leibster rules a bit (more on that later), I will answer the questions Laura presented, and I'll have fun with them, and I solemnly promise to respond to the best of my ability so help me Aging Brain.
Laura's questions: 1. Do you have a favorite saint, and what drew you to him/her?
I'd have to go with St. Francis de Sales. I was drawn to him by... I think by him! That's a long story, of post-length all on its own, and maybe I'll write it down one day. The main thing is that this saint and Doctor of the Church taught lay people about their call to live totally for Christ.
Not so radical, you say? Actually, In the 1600s .... it kind of was.
2. Do you have a
best-loved book that you've read multiple times? (And will you probably
read it again?) Or do you always just read a book once and pass it on
Admission: my books alone would qualify me for one of those programs about hoarders.
Oh dear. Did I just write that out loud? The thing is: after (and before) they've been read, books become my wallpaper. I love living surrounded by them. I "blame" that, in large part, on cozy rainy afternoons in the used books store when I was a child. Which is all to say I'm rather selfish about passing them on. BUT! I do actually re-read many of them, and pass portions on to you, right here.
And best loved ones? Oh, so many! Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales. St. Faustina's Diary. And from the strictly secular end: To Kill a Mockingbird (is that everyone's favorite?), and the poetry of Robert Frost.
3. What is your family's Christmas Eve tradition?
That changes year-to-year now that the children are grown, and my cherished grandchildren are in the picture.
4. When you dress up in heels, do you wear panty hose/tights, or do you go bare-legged?
I haven't worn heels in ages, but when I wear 'dress' shoes, I always wear hose.
5. How did you and your husband meet?
Through God's grace to help me make a good decision, and I'm absolutely certain that was the case. It was a Memorial Day, I was in college, and I was invited to a party. I'd been to a gathering with this basic group of people before, and it had gotten a bit wilder than I was comfortable with. But this was a holiday, after all, so I figured I'd probably just go.
Then I got a phone call from the president of the Catholic student center at my University. Would I like to come over that night to do some typing for their Mass bulletin? I'd wanted to get to know some Catholic students, so I made a decision right there on the spot. I'd go for the typing.
Boy, did I take flak for that one! Type instead of going to a cool party...? On Memorial Day?!?! ("what on EARTH has happened to Nancy?!"). The typing took about half an hour, and then - well, what do you know. There was a party right there, in the kitchen of a priest-chaplain! Into the gathering walked a tall, smiling young man and that, as they say, was that. He called me the next night and talked for over two hours (he told me later that he was trying to get up the nerve to ask me out). We dated for a year, became best friends as well as sweethearts, saw each other nearly every day, and he called me absolutelyevery day. We sent silly greeting cards to each other constantly, and we went to the Catholic student center chapel to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament as an end to many of our dates (his idea). We married thirteen months after that first meeting.
Typing on Memorial Day? It turned out that decision was worth any amount of "flak" I had to endure.
6. What's your go-to prayer in times of distress?
The Sign of the Cross, and the aspiration "'Jesus, I trust in You." 7. Where is the one place in the world you would visit if you could? Annecy, France, where Sts, Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. Anyway, Annecy is a charming little town. See...............................................?
8. How many siblings do you have?
I had one sister, thirteen years older than I. She's no longer living.
9. Are you a worrier? (I'm worried you'll think that's a weird question.)
I'm worried that if I say yes, you'll think I don't trust in God enough. And I'm worried that if I say no, I won't be entirely truthful. I'm worried that I'm worrying too much about what you'll think, either way. I'm worried that I should trust God with my feelings as much as with my decisions, but of course I can help my decisions but not my feelings. I'm worried that I might be over-thinking this. I'm worried that I might be, in fact, a worrier. I'm worried that I will never actually get around to answering this question.
Am I a worrier? Hmm. Think I need some help answering that. What do you think...... 10. What, if any, sport do you enjoy watching the most?
Thank you for the "if any." In my case, it definitely applies. In my high school and college days I did like basketball, but that was looooooong ago. Now I can ... sort of ... tolerate watching ice skating and surfing, but I get bored quickly even with those.
Now: here's the part where I break the rules. I do hope you will forgive me, but you see, I really wanted to answer Laura's fun questions, and this blog has been "'Liebstered" before, and I think I've passed the award on to a number of other bloggers and now I can't remember who they are (oooops), and there are many blogs I'd like to pass it along to but I'm WORRIED that I'll leave out a blog that I love, love, love simply because my memory is old and creaky, creaky, creaky.
So - instead of posing questions and officially nominating anyone, I am simply going to call your attention to a few blogs that probably don't take "blog questions" anyway. If you have not found these yet, you just might thank me for telling you about them (and you're welcome!).
I encourage you to visit these ....
Ben O'Neill at Walk with Me. Ben is a young man serving as a missionary with FOCUS, and his enthusiastic dedication to God is contagious.
Victoria's Art. I find Victoria's artwork stunning. It's a big word, 'stunning,' and I mean every bit of its bigness. Not only does Victoria share her finished work, she often takes us through her process of creating it. Check it out! The Mad Eyed Monk. I've mentioned this blog here before, but the writer has begun posting again after a little break. Hers is good poetry.And I mean really good poetry. Poetry shows, it does not tell, a writing teacher said years ago. Check out this blog and I think you'll see what that means.
Linda Maran's blogs, particularly It's Time for Pain Free, Prep Free Living and Linda Maran, Freelance Writer. Linda writes Christian fiction, Amish novels, and self-help nonfiction.
If any of these four bloggers would like to accept the Liebster Award, please consider this a nomination. You can add this (or any as I understand it) Liebster "badge" to your sidebar.
Thank you again, Laura. And may God bless us, every one!
Has it been only a year since I admitted my blatant first grade disobedience, the act of defiance that for some (surely angelic) reason did not get me immediately expelled from school? I feel I told of it ages ago; probably because I've always clearly remembered taking pencil in hand and writing on my desk, bearing down reeeaally hard with the point, just when I was certain Sister would be watching.
Vanity of vanities, it was all because of the beads.
"There is only one thing to be feared... only one trial, and that is sin... All the rest is beside the point. Whether you talk of plots, feuds, betrayals, slanders, abuses, accusations, confiscations of property... or universal war. Whatever they may be, they are fugitive and they will perish. They touch the mortal body, but wreak no harm on the watchful soul." St. John Chrysostom
Painting: W. Paxton, in US public domain due to age
fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you
today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield
you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be
at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.'
(St. Francis de Sales)
'Even though I walk through a dark valley, I fear no evil, for You are at my side.' (Psalm 23:4) 'God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength, but with the trial He will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.' (1 Corinthians 10:12-13) 'I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.' (Psalm 32:8) 'Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then shall I trust.' (Psalm 27:3) 'Be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.' (Joshua 1:9) 'Cast all your worries on Him, because He cares for you.' (1 Peter 5:7)
'We are afflicted in every way possible, but we are not crushed; full of doubts, we never despair. We are persecuted but never abandoned; we are struck down but never destroyed.' (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) 'God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.' (Romans 8:28)
'The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?' (Psalm 27:1)
'You are my shelter; from distress you keep me. With safety, You ring me around.' (Psalm 32:7) 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Thus we do not fear, though the earth be shaken and the mountains quake to the depths of the sea; though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging. The Lord of hosts is with us. Our stronghold is the God of Jacob.' (Psalm 46:2-4) 'Though my flesh and heart fail, God is the rock of my heart; my portion forever.' (Psalm 73:26) 'The Lord is with me; I am not afraid. What can man do against me?' (Psalm 118:6) 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.' (Psalm 124:8) 'God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.' (2 Peter 1:5)
'The light shines on in darkness; a darkness that did not overcome it.' (John 1:5)
Painting at top: Charles West Cope, The Night Alarm, The Advance
'For songbird answering song on topmost bough;
for myriad lark that carol up the sky;
for that low fluttering on the summer night;
for distant bells that tumble on the wind;
for great ground organ notes that rise and fall,
entwined with earthly voices tuned to heaven,
and bear our hearts above the high-arched roof.
For Thy great voice that dominates the whole,
and shakes the heavens, and silences the earth...
We thank Thee, Lord!'
(from Fervorinos from the Lips of the Master, compiled by a Religious, Pelligrini, Australia, 1940, pp. 431-432)