Sunday, March 29, 2020

Poem of the Week: Death, Be Not Proud

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Fun Stuff for Kids to Do

A while back I was talking with friends about what to do with kids when you are low energy or not feeling well. I mentioned that I kept a list of activities for the kids just for such situations, since I invariably couldn't think of anything on the spot since, you know, I was low energy or not feeling well.  Funny how that works!

They asked me to share the list, so here goes.  Your mileage will vary based on what's fun for you and your kids, and what you have around your house. Some of the activities work for all ages.

Back in the Day!
Little Kids' Activities
Read to the kids
Sandbox (hide small objects in the sand for extra fun)
Bubbles (pretty easy to make a giant bubble wand if you're up for it)
Sidewalk chalk (free draw, draw train tracks or mazes for them, or teach skip counting with lily pads)
Play dough (also edible play dough and textured play dough)
Jello in bathtub (no water, just toddler or older baby with jello - bath time when they are done!)
Bubble bath with shaving cream
Wooden train sets
Hammering toys
Finger plays or silly songs (lots of books available)
Crazy Bug Hats
Dress up
"Cooking" with cornmeal, dry beans, ice cubes (as long as you're up for clean up, or outside)
Backyard scavenger hunts
Finger paint (make sure to save hand prints when they are little!)
Sorting games
Sense games (trying to identify things by touch or smell)
Cardboard box building
Sheet forts
Hide and seek (can hide a plush toy)
Tell me a story

Bigger Kids' Activities
Make puppets (socks, paper bags, popsicle sticks)
Create a play or skit to show you
Make masks
Balloons (balloon rockets, balloon sculptures, objects in balloons)
Pillow fights
Simon says/Statues (everyone freeze looking surprised/angry/sad etc.)
Number playground
Watercolor paint
Paper airplanes/helicopters
Chores (I always liked: Pick up 10 things)
Rube Goldberg contraptions
Snap circuits
Reading time
Fun Jar
Simple sewing (also doing simple mazes with an unthreaded sewing machine was fun)
Random science experiments (I have a lot of random science experiment books)
Board/card games
Plant seeds
Marbles or jacks
Jump rope or hula hoop
Knock knock jokes
Press flowers
Microscope/magnifying glasses

Another thing I did was have themed weeks which helped guide the activities, but I'll do that in another post. I may do yet another post with my favorite random science experiments if anyone is interested (comment if you are).

Lent Video Retreat: Freedom

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Down the Garden Path

 It's an ill wind that blows no good, as my mother and grandmother used to say.

With a bit more time on our hands at home, we decided to do some household and garden projects.  So far, inside, we've cleaned the dreaded back basement, the office, the fridge, and the deep freeze. 

Outside, we've been doing a lot of weeding and pruning, but, by far, the biggest project to date was terracing the hill in the side garden so that the path and sitting area are level.

Fortunately, Zorg had some experience building paths on hillsides!  He spent a few weeks at Philmont with the Order of the Arrow building hiking trails for scouts.

 Basically, we used installed landscape timbers on the downhill side, then used the mattock to cut the uphill side down to be level with those timbers.  Then we installed more timber on the uphill side as a retaining wall.

Then we tamped everything down and covered the bath with bark.

It looks fantastic, and I am so happy to have that job done!

I still need to do a bit a of weeding in that garden because I have a number of plants coming in that I want to put there.

Lent Video Retreat: God's Will

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Happy Feast of the Annuciation!

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’
From the Agathistos Hymn,
Greece, VIc

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
       Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.
But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
       The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
         God waited.
She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
         Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
      when roads of light and storm
      open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from

in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
                                 God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child–but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
  only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power–
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
                     Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love–

but who was God.
This was the moment no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.
A breath unbreathed,


She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’
Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
                                                       raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
                                  consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
                               and the iridescent wings.
              courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

By Denise Levertov

HT Ignatian Spirituality

Lent Video Retreat: God's Knowledge