Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

Today is February 29. This date comes around only once every four years. It tidies up the calendar and makes it fit more closely with the spin of the earth around the sun. It seems like we should mark this odd day with some sort of celebration.

What are you doing to celebrate Leap Day? What would be some good ways to celebrate this unusual day?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Tonight I sorted through another drawer of old papers. Most of the papers were from the eighties and early nineties. Nothing in this pile of old important papers was still important and I threw it all away. As I looked at each paper to see if it needed to be kept I did encounter many old memories. There were several receipts from hotels where we had gone for short vacations. One had the receipt from a jewelry store attached. It was for a locket my beloved gave me on our thirtieth anniversary. There were insurance policies for cars we have not owned for many years. Our YMCA membership card for 1991 was there. The paper work that said we were foster parents for our now grown and long-gone foster son was there. There were piles of receipts for oil changes and membership cards to video clubs that closed long ago. The most interesting tidbit was a membership card with my husband’s name on it for the Moral Majority. It was dated 1981 and signed by Jerry Falwell. Although my husband is a very moral man, he was definitely never a member of that organization.

Do you have a drawer full of papers that are of no use except to stir up old memories? Why do we save so much stuff?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Yesterday our entire family gathered to celebrate Dennis’s seventieth birthday. It was a perfect day. To honor their dad the astronomer our children rented the planetarium owned by the public schools. We had our own private planetarium show of stars around the world. He thought it was wonderful. After the star show we gathered for dinner and presentations by the family. This is one of the songs they sang for him. It is sung to the tune of the song by similar name from The Sound of Music.

His Favorite Things

Hummingbirds, Orioles, and Purple Finches

Pelicans, Cormorants, Scarlet Ibises

One dollar for Eagles soaring on wings

These are a few of his favorite things.

Photons, and black holes, and No-oble prizes

Optics, robotics, stray light and moon rises

Telescopes pointed at Sa-aturns rings

These are a few of his favorite things

When the clouds form,

When the squirrels raid,

When the rockets stay on the pad,

He’ll simply remember his favorite things

And then he won’t feel so bad.

Left-handed di-ice with rotated threes,

Power Point sli-ides and church committees,

Gigantic bubbles and kites with two strings,

These are a few of his favorite things.

When the clouds form,

When the squirrels raid,

When the rockets stay on the pad,

He’ll simply remember his favorite things

And then he won’t feel so bad.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

I was fascinated by last night’s total lunar eclipse. In the early evening the bright full moon glistened on a layer of new fallen snow. The evening sky looked like the picture on the cover of “A Night Before Christmas.” About 9pm a shadow began to nibble out the bottom part of the moon. The shadow slowly spread and darkened the moon. I was expecting the moon to just disappear behind the earth’s shadow and was surprised when that was not what happened. Instead the moon became a soft orange globe. My husband the astronomer explained that the moon was reflecting the light of sunset around the world. The moon was reflecting the sunset glow. It was a beautifully eerie sight. By 11pm the white light of the moon was beginning to return in a small crescent around the edge of the moon. I was asleep before the full moon returned to the night sky.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yellow Ribbon

Yesterday we tied a yellow ribbon on a tree in front of our church building. Mr. Pete, our third grade Sunday School teacher, is leaving this week for a tour in Iraq. His students really wanted to do something for him. Last week the kids made small banners with their handprints all over them. This week we called Mr. Pete and his young family to the front of the church and the kids presented him with the banners and told him that their little hands would be raised in prayer until he returned safely. Then all the folks who are or have been in the military came and laid hands on him and prayed for his safe return. Veterans from World War II and every war since came up and surrounded him with praying hands. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. After the prayers all of the Sunday School kids went outside and surrounded a tree and tied a big yellow ribbon on it. It was a very moving moment.

Stay safe Mr. Pete. We will be praying for your safe return. Your family will be loved by all of us until you are home.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


The Psalmist said “The days of our life are threescore and ten,
and if by grace ten more.” That translates to say that a full lifetime is seventy years, or perhaps by grace eighty years. That used to sound so old.

Today my husband celebrates his seventieth birthday. I pray God graces him with more years to celebrate.

He was a beautiful baby. He is now a beautiful man.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To My Valentine

I am one of the luckiest women I know. My valentine of forty-eight years still loves me. We’ve walked a long road together through the good and the bad, the funny and the sad, the peaceful and the scary moments of life. Through it all I have known I was loved. I love you more today than I loved you in the beginning. I will love you more tomorrow than I love you today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I’ve spent the past week sorting through papers so the taxes can get done. While I was in the sorting mood I went through a file drawer of “important papers.” Most of it was no longer important and could be thrown away. I did come across one still important paper. I found a letter saying I was due a pension from a large insurance company that had owned the medical practice where I worked for many years. I called the company and sure enough I am eligible for the pension. I’ve found an unexpected source of income. Whoopee! Starting next month I will be receiving $47 a month for the rest of life. I hope that adds up to a lot of money.

What do you think I should do with this bonanza? What can I do for $47 a month?

Monday, February 11, 2008


Tomorrow is the Potomac Primary or Chesapeake Tuesday depending on which commentator is talking. Tomorrow is the day the voters of Maryland, Virginia and DC go to the polls. I expect long lines to vote. This is the first primary in a long time where my vote really mattered. In previous years the candidate had been pretty much decided before I got a chance to cast my ballot. Tomorrow is different. Hillary and Obama are in a dead heat. The polls give Obama an edge here. We will just have to wait and see. Either way I don’t think the candidate will be chosen until after several more primaries. On the Republican side I expect that McCain will win. It has been an interesting election so far.

In 342 days we will have a new president.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Our church youth group hosted a dinner for the congregation this weekend. They were expecting about 75 people to come. In fact 150 hungry folks showed up. The menu was Philly cheese steaks and fries. One of the guests wanted a vegetarian dinner, so I went to the kitchen to see what the vegetarian option would be. Our youth director was a bit blown away trying to supervise a bunch of teens in cooking and serving and praying that there would be enough food to feed everyone. I’m not sure if he quite understood when I asked what vegetarian option he could provide. He looked up at the long line stretching out the door and replied, “We’ve got hamburgers.”

I fixed the guest a sandwich full of grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese. There was just enough food for everyone.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. We had a short, simple worship service at church that I found very moving. As the minister placed ashes on my forehead he repeated the phrase, “You came from dust and to dust you will return.” It caused me to ponder my mortality and the brevity of life. I want to live each day I am given abundantly and full of joy. When the time comes for this body to return to the dust from which it came I look forward to a place far more wonderful than this.

How do you feel when you consider your own mortality?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Seventeen years ago today this old world became a better place when our third grandchild arrived on the scene. Samantha has grown into a beautiful, bright and loving person. For years her birthday gift was a weekend at gramma’s house. It was great fun. We would bake cookies, play silly games and laugh. She and grampa would work on science fair experiments. We would watch movies and have the cousins over to eat birthday cake. Now she is seventeen with a cell phone, a driver’s license and a boyfriend. She called a little while ago to invite us to take her lunch on Sunday to celebrate her birthday. It’s wonderful that we still get to celebrate with her.

We love you Samantha. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


If I put the right number of zeros, that number is 3.1 trillion. The budget that W. just submitted to congress is for 3.1 trillion dollars. According to this morning’s Washington Post that budget will leave deficits of over 400 billion dollars and will freeze most domestic spending. Oh, and by the way it does not include any of the billions of dollars needed for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My brain does not compute numbers that big. I can figure out how much a thousand dollars is. I can figure how much several hundred thousand dollars is. I have seen homes that cost a million dollars, so I can see what you can get for a million dollars. But beyond that I can’t comprehend. I do know that it is an awful lot of money.

I thought Republicans were supposed to be fiscal conservatives. Is this what happens with the Republican brand of fiscal responsibility? This is a terrible debt to be passing on to my grandchildren. Whoever becomes our next president, that person will be inheriting a terrible budget mess.

I can’t figure out why anyone would want to be president. This is just one small part of the huge mess that needs to be cleaned up. It will be an almost impossible job.

Today is election day for half of the nation. God bless the person who wins this job with wisdom, integrity and courage.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Is there an appropriate way to tell a man that his fly is open?

Friday, February 01, 2008


I have been missing my mom a lot lately. It is strange how this longing for her overwhelms me. It seems like I see her everywhere I look. I don’t know why but she has been very much with me lately. She died in 2003 and dementia had taken her away years before that.

My very first memory is standing in my crib. The crib was a reddish, brown color. There was a wooden rocking chair by the window. Outside the window doves were cooing. I remember standing there listening and thinking they were crying. My mother was standing in the doorway. I looked at her and said, “They’re crying for their mother.” My mother picked me up and I felt safe.

Her memory is still a safe, warm haven for me.

The picture was taken in 1945. Mom and I are ready to go to church.