Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy Critters

Today in NOTL:  Chilly, with a hight today of 55F/13C under sunny7 skies with a light breeze. 

I suppose autumn is well and truly upon us. The squirrels are moving quickly, and the sparrows are scolding each other as they vie for seedy tidbits.  I want to tell them not to worry, that we'll feed them through the winter, but I don't think they understand English, lol.  No worries - the excitement probably keeps them warmer as the days grow cooler. 

Outside my window, a few people stride along.  They're bundled against the cold and I see that almost all of them are wearing earpieces, listening to music or the radio, I imagine. I've been enjoying its absence lately. 

It isn't that I dislike music; I love it.  Still, it's nice to hear the birds outside, along with the occasional bark of a client visiting the veterinary clinic across the way.  It's music of a sort, too, accompanied by the hum of cars passing by and the rhythmic swish of the dishwasher in the kitchen. 

I can't hear a single voice, only quiet sounds.  That is peaceful, too, a lovely background to the yellow leaves drifting past that add to the show as I sip my hot coffee. 

It will be a busy day, I know.  Deb has a party this weekend - hooray!  Here's hoping for lots more! - so we'll be getting things ready for it.  I'll finish the red rosary today and hopefully get it uploaded.  Time to get moving...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, Monday....

Today in NOTL:   A chilly day, with a high of only 54F/12C and a light breeze under mainly cloudy skies.  A beautiful day!

Yesterday I spent the day working on rosaries.  While I imagine a professional rosary maker could get lots of rosaries made in the five hours I spent on the task, I only completed two.

For me, rosary-making is a time of prayer.  How can I string the beads and spacers without praying the Hail Mary's and Our Father's as I go?  Of course I can string without praying, perhaps stringing while watching television or listening to the radio, but I don't want to make them that way.

I remember a friend, Shanida, our teacher for ceramics class when we all arrived for class at the same time one evening.  As we students began spreading our supplies on the table, one woman took Shanida's handbag and set it on the floor so she could lay out her materials.  Shanida dashed over and grabbed her purse, setting it carefully on a shelf.

"No, no, my purse cannot sit on the floor," she scolded.  "I have my rosary in it!"  Well, replied most of the group, so have we our rosaries in our handbags as well, and Shanida was horrified. "You PRAY with your rosary," she told us.  "Have you no respect for it?"  We appeased her, setting our handbags on the counter in her shop, but I know I was not the only one who reverted to the floor for my handbag in other settings.

Nevertheless, her words had an impact.  Rosaries and other tools that link us to Creator deserve our respect for the holy function they serve, so when I make rosaries, it seems appropriate to me to create a holy space in which to do so.

And so I assemble my materials, quieting my mind and turning my heart to Creator.  I begin to pray as I lay out the beads, the familiar Creed and Our Father's and Hail Mary's of the rosary descender, the words as soothing and comfortable as a warm blanket on a cold night.

I pray for myself, for my own healing, longing to be out and about doing the work of Love.  I pray for the ones in my life who have asked for prayer and the ones who have not.  I think of my dear Cousin Mickey, asking his help as I do the work he did so many many times.  I dedicate the time to divine Love, sending loving prayers and blessings to all the world.

Especially, I think of the one who will purchase the rosary and the one who will pray it.  I ask abiding blessings for them, the sweet consolation of spiritual union with the Divine, a life filled with joyful service to Creator.

Often, as I work, I feel the presence of my angels draw near. I feel the shift in energies as spirit fills the room.  The air gets that feeling of heavy peacefulness that one often finds in ancient cathedrals and in the midst of dense forests.  Even Mr. Murphy knows spirit is present, as he flops beside me and heaves a heavy sigh, then settles, watching me and the ceiling before drooping into sleep.

As the beads are strung, one after the other, Hail Mary's and Glory Be's in succession, insights come.  Everything leads us back to love, I realize.  Everything is holy.

A wayward space fights me, skipping away from the beading wire.  I recognize my own stubborn nature in that of the bead.  As I patiently, finally get it in place, I am reminded of God's own patience with the stubborn children that we are, running from the one reliable source of comfort we could ever find.

Working with the tiny delicas, I see that I have miscounted the spacers between two beads and slide the decade from the wire.  After restringing, I discover that now there are too few spacers between two different Hail Mary beads.  Puzzled, I remove the decade again and restring.  And then do so again.  I cannot figure the puzzle; I am being so careful - how could I continue making the mistake?  I am not angry or irritated, only wondering at the mystery.

As I remove the decade yet again, a tiny delica falls from within a Hail Mary bead.  Ah, the mystery is now solved.  The delica had nestled so close to the larger bead that it slipped within it.  I replace the delicas in their tube; I cannot make a rosary that will have its user doubting her sensibilties!  Another delica falls from the center of another Hail Mary bead, and I realize that like the delica, I too am surrounded by the love of Creator.  It is the safe place the scripture writer speaks of, the secret place of the Most High.

But the Hail Mary beads have a lesson for me, too.  They are crystal, but an odd colour, a beige-y brown that could be rather unappealing.  The transparent aurora coating, though, highlights the reflective nature of each crystal, and they glow with fire.  Truly, despite their drab colour, they are stunningly beautiful.  Much like prayer, the beads are more than what they seem.  To the uninitiated, the rosary or mediation or other prayer tradition may seem dry and sterile.  Ah, how wrong they are.  They will only learn the truth, however, when they set forth on the path that seems so uninviting.  Only then can they discover the richness and joy of spirituality.

Little by little, the rosary is made and the afternoon is half gone.  I debate momentarily whether I will stop and read my book or string another rosary.  It's no contest; I am reluctant to leave the place of deep peace in which I work.  It is what I wish for other pray-ers as the prayer beads slip between their fingers: that they, too, my find themselves dwelling in the peace and security found in the presence of the Most High.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thinking Red'n'Green!

Today in NOTL:  A gorgeous day - sunny, breezy and cool with a high of 57F/14C.

Today is rosary-making day.  I got some lovely centerpieces from a nearby retreat center that will no longer be selling them, so was able to get really nice centerpieces at a bargain price (which is about the only price I can afford, lol).  It's a good thing, as Martha would say.  So today I'll be busy in that gentle, prayerful, peaceful way of rosary-making.

When I work on rosaries, I think of my dear Cousin Mickey.  He was my father's first cousin, and since my dad was an only child, very much like a brother to him and an uncle to us.  His wife was my mom's very good friend; I recall a Mardi Gras photo from the 30s or 40s of my mom, Cousin Clara, and one of their friends, three smiling clowns posing merrily for the camera.

Cousin Mickey and Clara had six children do my parents' five, a mix of girls and boys as opposed to our all-girl brood. When I was young, Mama and Dad would take us to visit and it was such fun. The older boy cousins would tease us, and we'd battle them alongside our girl cousins who were conveniently aged to befriend my elder sister and me.

The adults would play cards or cook or just chat - whatever they did was accompanied by the gales of laughter you hear when good friends get together.  We kids' bedtimes were forgotten, and we'd get to watch the late Saturday night horror movie.  I remember being terrified by The Blob, as my older cousins teased me mercilessly.

As much of a tease as my dad was - and he loved nothing better than teasing us - Cousin Mickey was his match.  I remember when my youngest cousin fell asleep on the sofa, rather than simply waking him, Cousin Mickey took a broomstraw and began tickling his upper lip.  We all smothered our laughs until Mom and Cousin Clara took pity on my cousin and made Cousin Mickey quit.

Devout Catholics, they sent their children, as did my parents, to the local Catholic school and were fixtures at Sunday masses and devotions.  Making rosaries was both a way for Cousin Mickey to share his faith and to create beauty.  I once saw his beads spread on the table, gorgeous sparkly crystals of many colors.  How they took my breath away!  He made my First Communion rosary, which I cherish even more today than I did as a first communicant.

As I string the beads, Cousin Micky comes to mind.  I remember his smiling teases and laughter and even as my eyes mist over I smile.  I hope he helps me now, as I make my rosaries.  It would be so like him to do so.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm late, I'm late!!

Today in NOTL:  Rainy, grey, and chilly, with a 4:30 p.m. temp of only 50F/10C...brr!

What a great day.  I finished the rosary for the friend of a friend.  OMG, it was sooo sparkly I had trouble focusing on my hail mary's as I worked!  I guess it might sound a bit...unreligious...to get off on the sparkle and beauty of rosary beads, but I figure, who made that beauty in the first place?  Or gave me the gift of sight to appreciate it?  Sackcloth and ashes...not for this girl.  Give me a bit of flash! ;)

I have enough beads to make both a pink rosary and a gorgeous golden one as well.  I'm going to do those next, and hopefully they'll find homes!

This is a rosary for a friend of Ms. C.G.  I love it - you can't tell, but it sparkles like nobody's business - those are aurora borealis turquoise crystals.  These are Swarovski, but I would like to try a differenct Czech maker sometime...

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today in NOTL:  Sunny, cool, and clear, with a high today of 61/16.  Gorgeous!

Sometimes you really need a weekend...and this is the weekend to have.  Goodness, it's just beautiful outside!

Today we'll be working on angels and pendants, I think.  We keep promising ourselves a day off, but there always seems to be more to do.  I think that's everyone's life, though!

The all-knowing 'THEY' say that our ancestors had more leisure time than we do, despite all the labor and time saving devices we use.  I can believe that.  We just heard someone speaking about the time it takes to check in each day - between email and instant messages and texts and social networks and so on, 'checking in' was a major time commitment!

When I get a call while a visitor is here or while I'm on the phone, I normally ignore it to continue with the visit or call, saying, 'That's why God made voicemail....' or whatever.  Folks usually chuckle and urge me to take the call but I rarely do.  My feeling is that, hello, I'm BUSY.  I'm not available, so leave a message.

From my observation, though, that's not the case with most people.  A text or phone call gets their instant attention, and I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard people say, "We can talk about this later..."  to a caller who has interrupted our visit or reading.  Clearly, the call wasn't urgent - so why the call, at all?

What happened to the ability to wait?  The ability to delay gratification - that is, to wait for what you want - is one of the strongest predictors for future success.   Maybe instead of being so available, we would help our loved ones more by stepping back, turning off the cellphone, and letting them wait a bit.  Who knows, perhaps they'll do more for themselves if we do - and maybe we'd get a little more leisure!