Spring Sunday

 

Lilacs1Sunday mornings. The busy-ness of the preceding week melts away and the hustle of a new week is not yet on the horizon. Even if you find yourself having to work on the weekends, Sundays have a totally different feel to them behind a counter or a desk. Although, truthfully, we’d rather not work on them. I’ve been there. I get it.

Photo credit leslieland.com
Photo credit leslieland.com

While I have never been a huge fan of springtime, there are some aspects of the season that I do cherish, if only in memory of times long passed. Lilacs. Lilacs do not grow as abundantly in Southern California as they do in the Midwest and back East. We had two huge bushes in our backyard on Waldo Street in Detroit and the fragrance would always woo me into the season. So distinct, so hopeful. Lilacs and Honeysuckle — if either one hits my nostrils, I am instantly transported back home. As May would roll around, I would gather the lilacs in bunches and take them to school, St. Stephens Catholic School, to place on the counter next to the statue of Our Blessed Mother Mary. May is her month.

Photo credit statesymbolsusa.org
Photo credit statesymbolsusa.org

reading::

My three constants have been JESUS CALLING: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Sarah Young),NEW MORNING MERCIES: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Paul David Tripp), and LINKING YOUR BEADS: The Rosary’s History, Mysteries, and Prayers (Patricia Ann Kasten). I tend to keep my reading simple during Lent. Lent has always been a season of solemnity that resonates deep within my being. Perhaps that is why I’ve never been one to lavishly celebrate my birthday — which falls in mid-Lent.

I now have the Divine Office app on my phone as well. The beauty of this app is three-fold. It immediately focuses my heart and mind where they should be when I’m feeling snarky or cynical. I can either read it, or simply listen to it being read (Bonus: I can listen to the hymns being sung, too). It’s always at my fingertips to remind me that prayer and praise really should be lifted throughout the entire day and not just at sunrise and sunset.

listening to::

The hum of the refrigerator and my laptop with various birds chirping in the background. This Sunday morning is a wee bit overcast, which helps to really ease into the day. Overcast. Cool. Sunday. What’s not to savor?

battling::

The tail-end of a sinus infection. It’s been nearly two years or more since I’ve had one. I’m allergic to everything that grows in Southern California, literally. After completing a five-year program of shots, I’m “better,” but when the world is blooming all at once, or the Santa Ana winds kick up, my sinuses are overloaded. Add a round of colds and flu among family, friends, and coworkers and, well, you have the perfect storm elements for a sinus squall of magnitude proportion.

Neighbor angst. Neighbors are Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” Once you plant yourself in a home, in a neighborhood, in a community, you pretty much have to share that proverbial bed you’ve made with a cast of characters you had no choice in choosing. And while I’m really trying to set my heart straight in regard to the often annoying behavior and lack of courtesy some long-time neighbors have been displaying with prayer, and suggestions found here and here, I find myself in an ornery mood more times than I’d like to admit.  The blog posts on Intentional Neighboring that I just linked may appear a bit lengthy, but I truly believe you will be enriched in your own efforts if you take the time to read them. I feel as if I have a better outlook on my own efforts after doing so.

As a head-thumper, God gave me an example of just how much I do not know about some of my neighbors. Last evening, I attended a musical revue showcasing The Supremes. (Literally, a soundtrack to my childhood growing up in Detroit.) As we were sitting in our seats, I noticed a neighbor entering the theatre with her nephew. The nephew and his mother live with her. The nephew has Downs Syndrome and his mother, I believe, is a recovering addict. The encounters I’ve had with his aunt have never been pleasant. I am on the Board of our homeowners association and she has been present as an unhappy, disgruntled homeowner at a few of the meetings. God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed me the opportunity to see a softer, more nurturing, side to this woman. For it takes much patience and a big heart to care and tend to a child — especially an adult child — with Downs Syndrome. So how wonderful was she to take her nephew to a neighborhood theatre for an evening out? Music, I’m sure, works to both soothe and calm his already hectic world. In an instant, God reminded me just how complex and complicated human beings and the lives they lead are. Well played, Lord. Well played indeed.

Resisting self-flagellation due to overlooking errors in my blog posts. Sometimes I get antsy to push the PUBLISH button and find out afterwards that, despite the numerous times I’ve read through and made corrections in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, there is an error. Sometimes only one, but one is all it takes to unnerve me. *sigh*

Painting courtesy of firstparishweston.org
Painting courtesy of firstparishweston.org

 in the kitchen::

Thawing pork chops for dinner. The budget and the pantry start thinning out considerably in 31-day months — it’s a phenomenon I have yet to figure out. Somehow two weeks seems SO much longer to stretch both — even though two weeks is two weeks when it comes to paydays. So tonight we’ll have pork chops with whipped potatoes and corn, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that there may be leftovers for our lunches tomorrow. Loaves and fishes, Lord. Loaves and fishes. Amiright?

watching::

Is it just me, or is the television season getting even more wonky? A series used to run from September through May: breaking for the week of Thanksgiving and the week from Christmas to New Years, maybe even Easter week, and ending the week of the Nelson Ratings (remember those?). Now it seems that a series goes on hiatus — midseason finale — and picks up again after the New Year (February, March, even April) and is peppered with reruns in between “new” episodes. It’s a tad bit upsetting really.

Regardless, I’m glad to see MADAME SECRETARY back on Sundays (even though, like so many other series that come on after my bed calls to me, I have to DVR it) and also, the somewhat campy, iZOMBIE premiere. Like my reading, my taste in television shows runs wide.

Painting by Nancy Medina, courtesy of dailypainter.com
Painting by Nancy Medina, courtesy of dailypainter.com

looking forward to::

A quiet week at work since the campus will be closed due to spring break.

A visit from our middle daughter and her family next weekend. Since they’ve moved to the Vegas area, we no longer have the convenience of seeing them on a moment’s notice. Oh, and they are bringing their new family dog as well. Since we have two cats, this may be an opportunity for much blog fodder to come.

The return next Sunday of another daughter and her family from a visit to Europe. Oh the stories we can’t wait to hear of their journeys! This week they will be heading to Austria to visit one of our nephews who accepted a teaching position at a university there. Did I mention he moved his wife and six children along with him? Talk about a family relocation!

Painting by Nancy Medina, courtesy of dailypainting.com
Painting by Nancy Medina, courtesy of dailypainting.com

enjoying::

This photo

Clippert Clan 1961
Clippert Clan 1961

and the thread accompanying it on Facebook that identifies aunts, uncles, and cousins I have been blessed to reconnect with after over 40 years of distance due to divorce and family feuds (which, in my opinion, are just plain silly). It’s beyond words to describe how much it means to connect the family dots and uncover the secrets to physical features and quirky attributes that are, ahem, inherited.

Painting by Leonid Afremov, courtesy of afremov.com.
Painting by Leonid Afremov, courtesy of afremov.com.

praying for::

A childhood friend’s family in the aftermath of her recent death. Cancer — a dragon I wish we could slay once and for all.

For another dear childhood friend who is fighting her own battle with the effects of diabetes.

For Jeremiah, the little boy my friend and I found on our way to dinner last night. We thought he was way too young to be riding his scooter, alone, in a business area of town, so we pulled over and I called the local Police Department. The dispatcher informed us that, as we were waiting for a unit to arrive, his parents were on another emergency line reporting him missing. From what we could gather from Jeremiah (six-years-old), his mom was at a birthday party and his dad was at home. I suspect dad was in charge of watching him and probably fell asleep on the couch, or became preoccupied, just when Jeremiah decided to go on an adventure to find mom.  Within minutes of the deputy arriving, mom drove up behind his unit. Good ending really – although I’m sure that Jeremiah, thinking of “stranger danger,” was a bit overwhelmed with the attention he was getting from two old women.

Jeremiah was black, my neighbor is Hispanic, and I am (for all intentional purposes) white.

It takes a village, my friend. It takes a village.

Be watchful, dear reader. Be watchful.

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