Christmas Lights


“There will be many beautiful lights [this Christmas]. You – be a light. Be the face of Christ for others.”

Fr. A. said this way back in the beginning of Advent. A Saturday or two later I was back in evening Mass again, seated behind a tall man. He had snow white hair, and wore a bone white sweater. Though I was directly behind, I could see that he actively participated in the Mass, singing the songs, and so on. When it came time for the sign of peace he turned around. His face was tan and deeply wrinkled and his eyes were brown, and he gave me the most beautiful, kindly smile. There was no judgement in his face, no kind of mask – just an expression of kindness and goodness. His look warmed me inside, and the warmth lasted a long time. For Christ plays in ten thousand places, says Hopkins’ wonderful poem; lovely in eyes and limbs not his, to the Father, through the features of men’s faces. I wish I could be more like that man!

Merry Christmas, my dear people. May your ham’s glaze be beauteous and your potatoes done to a turn, and may your children (and grandchildren) eat their vegetables without complaining one bit.



This is Astro, our pet bunny.


Astro, drawn by our nine-year-old

Or at an rate, this is what he looks like some of the time. Ordinarily, he appears as a mild-mannered rabbit. But by night, (and on occasion by day, as needed), he is Astro, the Crime-Fighting Rocket Rabbit! Defender of Liberty! Opponent of Oppression! Baleful Bane of Purveyors of Perfidy!

That’s what Daddy says, anyway. The boys are intrigued, but a little skeptical.

Every so often someone will look toward the rabbit’s enclosure and remark, “Where’s Astro?”

“He’s out fighting crime, of course,” Daddy will calmly reply.

The children watch, and within a few minutes the bunny comes into view.

“No, he’s right there!” they cry.

“Looks like he’s back. I told you he was quick. He goes very fast with his rocket jet-pack.”

The children still aren’t sure. It’s fun to have a rabbit with a secret life.




Mom serving pizza for dinner, drawn by Little Man, age 4

“Mom,” said my 4-year-old son, “You look like a teenager.”

“Why thank you!” I said, tickled, but surprised. ” Why do you say I look like a teenager?”

“Well, you are small. And teenagers are small, too. But not small like me.”

Some days ago he said suddenly, “Mom, I like you. But,” he added, “I don’t like it when you are grumpy.” (I don’t like it, either. I try to remember that, as I heard it said once, “The mother is the emotional and spiritual center of the family.” Or, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”)

Little Man is a funny, happy, very imaginative kid; I love to hear all the things he says.

Sitting and knitting


The Artist’s Wife Knitting, by William James Glackens (image source)

No drawing during free time today, just knitting – with a loom, because that’s the only way I know. I was visited by a little Halyomorpha halys. They come indoors in great numbers when cold weather comes. This one crawled across the bedspread, then climbed up the loom. It stepped carefully from peg to peg, and I found myself admiring its antics and enjoying its company, not something I’ve ever experienced before with a stink bug! When it meandered onto my shirt I was less enthused. I gave it a pencil box to walk on and transferred it to the floor to go wandering elsewhere.

Breakfast conversation

The scene: two brothers at breakfast, one with his face in his eggs.

“He is eating with his mouth. Maybe he’s going to turn into a beast.”

“I would like to turn into a whale.”

“Most definitely not. Most likely you’d turn into a pig, because pigs eat with their mouths.”

“Mommy, what do whales eat?”

“Pigs eat mostly vegetables. Squished up vegetables.”

“Mommy, may I have honey on my toast please?”

“Stop eating with your hands! Stop eating with your mouth! Maybe we should sign him up for polite class.”

“With a collar on my head.”