Thursday, February 26, 2015


I'm sure that for the first few days that Narnia was frozen, everyone thought that he was living in the Magic Kingdom. Although we have had this much snow (4-5 inches) a few times in the 13 years that we've been living in rural Mississippi, this is the first time that we have been able to get our car out of our driveway before a good bit of the snow melted, and so this morning was the first time we've driven down these country roads when every tree and field was still heavy with snow. I kept making Bill stop the car so I could take pictures--just one more! I was wishing that I could just take the morning off and drive around with our good camera, but I've already missed more days than I can keep track of because of the weather--ice until now--so I thought I better not. So, I had to make do with the camera on my Kindle Fire, which is too bad because everything was so much more beautiful than it looks here.

We pray the rosary on the way to work in the mornings, and this morning when we got to The Transfiguration I thought, "Well, that's what this is for sure." I had been looking out the window in my kitchen door earlier and feeling like Dorothy Gale--like my house had been picked up in the night and moved to a different world.

Outside my kitchen door. There's a little wood out there on the horizon, 
but the fog made it disappear.

From the driveway

The rest of these were taken on the way

You can tell from these two that there was quite a bit of fog.

After I took this one, Bill suggested I roll down the window. It was a disappointing picture, but I also find it fascinating because if I didn't know that it was a color picture, I'm not sure you could convince me that it was a color picture.

I have always loved this tree, and never more than today.

Usually, I really like the background of my posts because it compliments almost every picture. These pictures are the exception. If you click on one of them (only once!) it will take you to a slideshow of enlargements of the pictures and they look better on the black background.

As when Peter, James and John had seen Christ transfigured, they had to come down from the mountain and get back to their humdrum lives, so do we. This is what we came home to this evening.

This is the same shot as that third picture.

By the way, this is the most snow I saw in one place during the 30 mile drive home.


Monday, January 12, 2015

52 Authors, Week 2:Thomas Howard

 My turn this week.

If you missed last week's entry on Flannery O'Connor, you ought to catch up. Don't miss the comments.


Thursday, January 8, 2015


Rue - Herb of Grace
I've been thinking about resolutions--not about making any, but about resolutions themselves, and why we don't keep them. I should think that the most important foundation for keeping resolutions is that we are resolute, that we have set our hand to the plow and aren't looking back, that we are single-minded. Elizabeth Goudge defines this single-mindedness in her novel, Herb of Grace,
"But I've always thought of single-mindedness as a sort of concentration," said Sally. 
 "Yes. Contraction. Everything gathered in for the giving of yourself. The whole of you. Nothing kept back. No reservations. No loopholes of escape. Like a diver taking the plunge or a man banging the door shut behind him that locks itself so that he can't go back."
"You couldn't do that without repentance," said Sally thoughtfully. "I see that. You'd have to humble yourself before you could let go like that. Pride can't let go...." 
After a while, I started thinking about the etymology of the word resolute, because it's pretty obvious that it comes from the same root as solution. So I found that it comes from the Latin solvere which means to loosen, free up, unbind, melt. For anyone who has studied Greek, it's related to that most regular of Greek verbs λύω.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says:
resolute (adj.) Look up resolute at early 15c., "dissolved, of loose structure," also "morally lax," from Latin resolutus, past participle of resolvere "untie, unfasten, loose, loosen" (see resolution). Meaning "determined, decided, absolute, final" is from c.1500, especially in resolute answer, a phrase "common in 16th c." [OED]. From 1530s of persons. The notion is of "breaking (something) into parts" as the way to arrive at the truth of it and thus make the final determination (compare resolution). Related: Resolutely; resoluteness.
So after originally signifying looseness, it is now used to mean the opposite, something that is absolutely firm.

I particularly like the notion of breaking something into parts as the way to arrive at the truth of it and thus make the final determination, because it gives us a new way of looking at resolutions. We don't just decide to try again to do the thing which we could never before accomplish. We don't join Weight Watchers or the gym for the 20th time, or invest in nicotine patches or swear to limit our time online. We look--hopefully we prayerfully look--at why all those things have never worked. We try to find the problem behind the problem, to look at it through the lens of repentance and humility, and then we can close those loopholes of escape effectively.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Pope, the Environment and Rex

The confusion about what Pope Francis said, is going to say, and once thought about saying, and what everyone's opinion about what the pope said is, and what everyone's opinion about what the pope said ought to be continues to the point where I just don't read anything about the pope anymore until the dust is well settled. It's gotten to the point that if an angel of light appeared to me and gave me the latest update on the pontiff's pronouncements, I would say, "Oh yeah? Show me that on the Vatican website."

So now the Holy Father is writing an encyclical about the enivronment, and the customary circus of doubt, adulation, criticism, fear, incredulity, statements about how the Church is finally getting it right, and statements about how this is the Great Apostasy predicted in Revelation are in full swing, and I am in my default position of avoidance. But so help me, whenever I see a link to an article about the encyclical, this is all I can think about.
So Rex was sent to Farm Street to Father Mowbray, a priest renowned for his triumphs with obdurate catechumens. After the third interview he came to tea with Lady Marchmain. "Well, how do you find my future son-in-law?" "He's the most difficult convert I have ever met." . . .
 ... I asked him: 'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said "It's going to rain," would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh, yes, Father.' 'But supposing it didn't?' He thought a moment and said, 'I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'          Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
 And then there's this. Save us.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I don't want to let the feast of St. Raymond Peñafort pass without mention. If you have a moment to look, I wrote about him a bit here.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Adoration of the Magi Tapestry
Designed by Edward Burne Jones with details by William Morris and John Henry Dearle 

Mysteries seeking the Mystery, 
Following the light but leaving none.
Asking the customary quintet of questions,
But answering none.
Bequeathing us no gift
To illuminate their identity.
We see only their shadows in the light of the Star.

Emissaries to the newborn King
From the myriad banished nations,
Forging a path to the Kingdom
For all of us who lost the way to Eden.

And what each seeker saw is veiled in silence,
Known perhaps not even to himself.
For even in that heavenly illumination
Shadows linger in the corners
To shroud the hidden meaning of the night.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Light on Dark Water: 52 Authors

Throughout 2015, Maclin Horton at Light on Dark Water is hosting a group of us who comment frequently on his blog as we write about 52 authors ranging from E. Nesbit to Étienne Gilson. Those of us who will be writing are as diverse as our chosen authors--the group includes professional writers, university professors, information technologists (is that a real term?) and homeschool moms. Join us for the first week's post on Flannery O'Connor, written by Toby D'Anna here.

A list of the authors to be covered can be found here, although if anyone else is as undecided as I am, it could presumably change.