Thursday, January 9, 2014


As long as I can remember, those beads were never far from her hands.

My mom, the youngest of 8 children raised by a single mom, was given my Nana's rosary when she passed away early in the 70's.  Since then, that rosary has never been far from my momma's hands.

A simple rosary.  Made of glass beads and chain and a crucifix and a medal.  Things.  A simple rosary.  Yet part of her.  And part of her mother. 

As long as I can remember, that is the rosary my mom would use to pray the beautiful prayer where the Mother of God, our Mother Mary, points us to her son and inspires us to reflect on Jesus' life.  Everything in the rosary and everything about Mary always leads us to her son.  That is her role, and she still does that for us earthly children today.

As long as I can remember, my mom has received other rosaries. Some beautiful and exquisite and some plain and ordinary.  Yet the one that she always went back to and the one that she treasured was her mom's rosary. 

As long as I can remember, there have been times when the beads were missing.  What happened?  Where were they?  When were they last seen?  After searching ourselves, we would pray to St. Anthony and ask for his intercession and he always pulled through for us.

I've walked into my mom's room as a child and now as an adult and found her sleeping with the beads either loose in her hand or resting next to her.  She often would fall asleep while touching these beads and praying - bringing joys, thoughts, concerns, worries, blessings, thanksgivings, sadness to her God.  As long as I can remember, the beads would be in her pocket or next to her on the sofa or on the table right by her bed.

When my mom had her stroke, from the moment we went to the hospital not even knowing yet what was wrong, she held those beads.  She would awake from a rest and her hands would move and she would search for those beads.  They would be in her hands until she needed to have a test when she would pass them to myself or my sister or my dad, knowing that as soon as she was done that she would have them back.  She would stir in her sleep and her hands would start to skim the sheets. "Here is your rosary, Mom."  Her fingers would close around the beads and a bit of peace would be restored.

As long as I can remember, those beads have spoken.  They've spoken of comfort and strength.  They've spoken of perseverance in prayer.  They've spoken of pain and sorrow.  They've spoken of trust.  They've spoken of a mother's connection to her children.  They've spoken of a child's connection to her momma.  They've spoken of where you turn in happiness and where you turn in sadness. 

Since her stroke, she has misplaced the beads a little more often.  There were a couple of times that we thought they might be gone for good.  Yet, by God's grace, they have always been found.

So last night when I went to my parent's home I was surprised when my mom handed me a note and a small pouch. The note began in my mom's writing, continued in my dad's, and ended with my mom's signature:

To my youngest child,
I did want to give this to my youngest child. Aunt D gave this to me when Nana died and since I was the youngest, I wanted my youngest to receive it...So here's to my beautiful daughter who I love very much. Enjoy using this rosary as much as I have.
God Bless,

As long as I can remember, those beads have been an extension of my mom and now she has entrusted them to me.  A mom guides her children, she points the way, she shines a light, and prays that her children will not go astray.  A mom sets an example and fills a home with love. 

Today I look down at my own hands, so very much like my momma's.  I look at my hands and see the beads of my Nana, the beads of my mom, gently resting in my palm.  I feel the love of these woman and pray that these unworthy hands, holding these precious beads, can set even a bit of the example of motherhood and love of God that my momma has taught and continues to instill in me today.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:25-31


Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Wondering when it is okay to make jokes at a someone else's expense.  Is it ever ok?  I really want to know.

Someone posted on Facebook today concerning their disappointment that school was called off once again for tomorrow.  Understandable post as many people have mixed feelings about whether school should be cancelled or not.  The post generated many comments on both sides of the debate.  It was interesting to read the comments to see where people were coming from and what their thoughts were on the topic.

And then I read this:  "I started home schooling (his child's name) yesterday, already her hair and hemline are longer, neckline higher, she wishes she had 18 brothers and sisters and is hoping (his wife) becomes pregnant some time real soon, gosh darn it". 

When I read it my heart started pounding.  I get it. OK?  I get it.  He was trying to be funny.  Would I have thought this was funny at some point in my life?  Maybe.  I certainly may have.  Did I think it was funny today?  No.  In fact, it kind of bothered me.

So, what should I have done?  What would you have done?  Should I have said something or should I have just left it alone?  I don't know this gentleman at all.  I am an acquaintance with the gal who made the first post, but we don't really have many mutual friends.  So, what should I have done?

I'll tell you what I did.  I said a little prayer, took a deep breath and typed, "(his name) - wondering if you personally know any homeschooling families. I have the privilege of personally knowing many families who beautifully, creatively, and intelligently homeschool their children. I'm guessing you were trying to be funny, but that is a real mischaracterization of the majority of families who homeschool their children."

He didn't answer my query, but just replied to say that yes, he was trying to be funny.  Then someone else replied that he was.

I thought about replying again, said another little prayer, and decided that I had said enough.  I tried to plant a seed.  Maybe someone will read that and rethink making a generalization about a group of people.

It made me start to wonder if he had made a comment like that making a caricature of a family dealing with autism, depression, cancer, mental illness, speech impediments, etc. if it would have gone over so well.  Would so many people "like" a comment like that?  Would it be deemed inappropriate?  Why does it seem as though certain topics are ok to poke fun at and others are off-limits?

As a teenager I remember watching a video with my family, "Bill Cosby:  Himself."  He poked fun and exaggerated a lot of things about his family and himself.  His marriage.  His children.  Getting a cavity filled at the dentist.  Fatherhood.  He's having fun with things that he knows; things that he lives.  To me, this is a very different kind of humor than poking fun or exaggerating something of which you know very little.

Our world is filled with so many people who have made different choices from us.  We certainly aren't going to agree with what everyone has decided for themselves.  How would the world be different, though, if we tried to get to know why people made the choices they have made?  How might we speak differently if we tried to understand people even if we don't agree with what they are doing? 

Something to think about.  Or maybe not.  I'm still learning.  I'm still changing and figuring things out.  What do you think?  Do you know the right answer in this scenario?

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  Ephesians 4:29