14 February 2018

A Different Kind of Valentine's Day

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with those in her sphere of influence.

February 14 is the day that most Christians the world over commemorate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine of Italy who was killed for his faith.  From the Martyrology for February 14, we learn the following:

At Rome, on the Flaminian road, in the time of the emperor Claudius, the birthday of blessed Valentine, priest and martyr, who after having cured and instructed many persons, was beaten with clubs and beheaded.   Also, at Rome, the holy martyrs Vitalis, Felicula, and Zeno

At Teramo, St. Valentine, bishop and martyr, who was scourged, committed to prison, and as he remained unshaken in his faith, was taken out of his dungeon in the dead of night and beheaded by order of  Placidus, prefect of the city.  In the same place, the holy martyrs Proculus, Ephebus and Apollonius, who, whilst watching by the body of St. Valentine, were arrested and put to the sword by the command of the ex-consul Leontius. 

Thus, although we don't know a great deal about Saint Valentine's daily life, we do know that he gave his life to the service of God, that he was faithful unto death, and that he was beloved by those who knew  him.  What Saint Valentine teaches me is the value of love in action via commitment, sacrifice, and humility: in marriage; in motherhood; in widowhood. 

Enjoy the candy, admire the card, arrange the bouquet: balance that with a remembrance that true love is a giving, sacrificial thing.  

For those of us who are Christians, I will remind you that today begins Quadragesima, the commemoration of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before He began His formal ministry.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,

09 February 2018

Please Help Me to Choose a Baby Name

Courtesy of Microsoft

Alas, I am not having or adopting a baby 😞.  

A former student who has become a dear friend is having a baby girl, and she and her Mr. Husband have honored me by giving their baby the middle name of Diane (a form of Cynthia) and by asking me to give the baby her first name.  The parents gave me three criteria to follow:  they want a very feminine name with three syllables, unusual but not weird.  

I started with a list of seventy-eight and have narrowed the list to eight possibilities, in alphabetical order:

1.  Barbara Diane
the name of an author whose books the mother and I both enjoy;
2.  Beverly Diane -
 the name of a distant cousin who never bore any children;
3.  Francesca Diane
after the late Princess of Wales (Diana Frances);
4.  Jalisa Diane  - 
the name of an acquaintance;
5.  Jerica Diane
the name of a flower girl in a wedding party I was in;
6.  Marielle Diane
after Mary + a sister of the mother;
7.  Millicent Diane
the name "Millicent" just flitted into my mind one night;
8.  Tabitha Diane
after the late Tabaitha Brown, 
whose blog the mother and I both benefited from reading, 
although I chose a more common spelling.

I have set up a poll to expire on February 13.  Baby Girl is due at the end of February.  All of the names sound pleasant when combined with the parents' last name.

03 February 2018

Fascinating Days in February

Courtesy of Dover Publishing

Are you happy that February has arrived?  I certainly am!  The weather here seems to turn a corner at the beginning of the month, and just today, I saw two trees already putting forth blossoms: one in white and another in hot pink (both almonds, I think).  In addition, I just this second heard the first dove of the season, so beautiful!  February is a special month in our family because so many of us started our journeys here on Earth in February.  

February's official flower is the violet, perhaps to coordinate with its birthstone, the beautiful Amethyst.  However, I also think of pink roses for February, for I call February "Love Month" and connect love with pink roses.  I was happy to find the clip art above in my trove, combining the flowers associated with February.

My reading for February is the novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Decision Points (memoir of George W. Bush).  A book club to which I belong is reading The Other Boleyn Girl, but between the tawdriness and the historical inaccuracies, I may have to take a pass on reading that one.  

Some special days yet to come in February include the following (and a few suggestions for commemorating the days):

8:    Roast hot dogs or marshmallows on Boy Scout Day
12:  Make Corn Dodgers to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Birthday
13:  Celebrate Valentine's Day early this year with a heart-shaped meatloaf or dessert
14:  Begin the Lenten journey of reading the New Testament and deep cleaning the house 
17:  Random Acts of Kindness Day
19:  Learn something about a lesser-known President on Presidents' Day
22:  Enjoy a cherry-based drink or dessert on George Washington's Birthday
26:  Read or tell a fairy tale to a friend  or family member on Fairy Tale Day

What special days to do you have planned for this month?

Agape always,

02 February 2018

Until December...

Courtesy of Microsoft

Greetings, Dear Ones!

I hope that you are well.  I, along with most of my neighbors and all of my family, had influenza in January, add to that several students in need of consultation and consolation and writing a workbook to accompany my Marriage Enrichment curriculum, and blogging went not only to the back burner but off the range completely.

I thank all of you who visited my single January 2018 post and hope that you know how much I appreciate your visits to my humble effort.

Today, we say good-bye to the joyful Christmas season until next December.  That seems like such a long time!  I hope to do as the following poem suggests and "give with both hands."

To commemorate the end of the Christmas season, I would like to share a poem by Christina Rossetti:

‘Love brought Me down: and cannot love make thee
Carol for joy to Me?
Hear cheerful robin carol from his tree,
Who owes not half to Me
I won for thee.’
‘Yea, Lord, I hear his carol’s wordless voice;
And well may he rejoice
Who hath not heard of death’s discordant noise.
So might I too rejoice
With such a voice.’
‘True, thou hast compassed death: but hast not thou
The tree of life’s own bough?
Am I not Life and Resurrection now?
My Cross, balm-bearing bough
For such as thou.’
‘Ah me, Thy Cross! – but that seems far away;
Thy Cradle-song to-day
I too would raise and worship Thee and pray:
Not empty, Lord, to-day
Send me away.’
‘If thou wilt not go empty, spend thy store;
And I will give thee more,
Yea, make thee ten times richer than before.
Give more and give yet more
Out of thy store.’
‘Because Thou givest me Thyself, I will
Thy blessed word fulfil,
Give with both hands, and hoard by giving still:
Thy pleasure to fulfil,
And work Thy Will.’

01 January 2018

Good-Bye 2017, the Year of the Impossible: Happy 2018!

Courtesy of Microsoft

Greetings, Ladies!

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with others!

For me, 2017 was the year the impossible came to pass.  I was, at long last, able to end a situation that had become increasingly unsafe for me. A friend and her husband were available to help us materially in an amazing way. I began to heal from emotional pain that I had shunted aside for several years, and I began to heal physically from the effects of ignoring my emotions.  Had anyone asked me a year ago if any of these things could have come to pass, I would have replied in the negative.  

I have some plans for 2018 that I hope will come to pass.  In the meantime, I am preparing to relocate (but I don't yet know where) and preparing for new ways to support my family (although I don't 100% yet know what those might be).  All as God wills and leads.

In the meantime, as well, I am continuing to post Basic Marriage Enrichment classes on my Sound Cloud account, and my curriculum remains available on my Etsy storefront along with other e-books I have written.

I pray for all of you blog visitors each day and hope that you do the same for us.

May God heap blessings on you in 2018!

Agape always,