The Life of Saint Dominic

St. Dominic is the saint who, according to Catholic writings, was given the vision of the rosary by the Blessed Mother. I’m reading this to delve more into the history of the rosary, but also out of pure interest. I have been studying prayer lately for the class I’m in, centering prayer in particular, which is similar in meditation to that of the rosary. Centering prayer however is a prayer of quiet and the rosary, according to tradition, should be said aloud, though I believe many rules about religion were made to be broken and so I say much of it in whispers or silence. I have heard this book by Drane is hard to read for some because the language is a little old fashion, but I read stuff like that all the time so it might be OK. If anyone knows of a better version of his life let me know. 😄

The books of John

“…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

 Anyone out there afraid of the dark? When I was going through a tough time my grief manifested itself in anxiety. As soon as the sun went down the wolf, as I called it, began to hunt me, and I was terrified almost every night. I could not see clearly; all my thoughts were too muddled to see my way out of it. 

There is a phrase soldiers use called ‘the fog of war’. Popularized by Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, it’s a term which refers to the clarity of vision that disappears when we must fight for our lives. It’s often used in recollections of warfare and battlegrounds, but the fog of war can begin its seeping journey into our homes and minds if ignited by fear or anger. It is the reason we cannot see our way out of “attacks” of the mind. So how do we remedy this and possibly cure ourselves of this affliction?

I experienced this in another form last week when they tore yet another perfect old home down in my neighborhood. I Facebook vented (something I never do) with pictures and words and received many comments from people who agreed with me. I then sent the whole correspondence and post to the City (names blacked out). In this moment I was fueled by anger and though I felt I was fighting for a certain justice, I found it hard to navigate with the compass of truth and love, and I know this because I began to think dualistically, them vs me, good guy vs bad guy. I think this is because I did not bring God/Christ into the fight with me, I sort of left God behind and went on my own fuel and thought I was alone in it or needed to do it alone. We must bring God/Christ into these fights with us, every fight, and by Him we will be guided and the fog, the darkness which blinds us will dissipate and we’ll see our way out. 

 

Sharing food and stories of the American enslaved with Michael W. Twitty & The Cooking Gene

Join me at the table: A Food study into African American history and food culture with Michael W. Twitty.

Using the recipes from his book, @thecookinggene traces the food of the enslaved in America and how that food has traveled and morphed through time and the world. Very eye-opening for me. The book traces his family history from Ghana and Sierra Leone to the plantations of Virginia and South Carolina. I cooked some of the food and read some quotes from his book too, and shared his food & his stories with my family. This was one of the best meals I’ve ever made, everything was so good and perfectly seasoned via his recipes. Forgot to take photos throughout, so here are the remnants. Everything was so good! 💕

I think it’s important to re-educated ourselves and each other right now. This was my little way with more to come!!

“When you are oppressed, how you survive your oppression is your greatest form of cultural capital. “ —Michael W. Twitty

Tonight’s menu included, corn bread, watermelon, African soul fried rice with black eyed peas and red rice (a nutritional heirloom rice he discusses a little), sautéed collard greens, sorghum molasses brined chicken roasted by wrapping it in cabbage. For dessert, chicory coffee and Twitty’s mother’s apple crisp. 😋

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The book of 1 Timothy

“For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.” ( 1 Timothy 6:7)

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We came into this world naked. Our souls encapsulated in a body not of our own choosing so we can learn lessons from the journey of that body and it’s DNA, lessons built only for us. And the body is privy to certain things of the world, but the soul always thirsts for God. The further from God the more sickly our soul becomes. The more we embed our lives with God the less time we will want to spend away from Him. But the less time we spend with Him the more we will push Him away, and by this time we have a tiny feeling he will reject us if we return to Him or we won’t enjoy our time with Him because He has become so foreign and incomprehensible. I think we must realize our nakedness and live into our nakedness with Christ. The wealth of the soul is all that matters, and this wealth is of things not of this world, invisible to the eye, and felt only in the heart

Confessions of Saint Augustine

I had to track this down. It was recommended by Thomas Merton, and I think it led in part to his conversion. F. J. Sheed’s translation is supposed to be the best. I’ve read compared to other translations Sheed kept the words of Saint Augustine alive and breathing, rather than dead. I’m very excited to read this! . Plus it was mailed with an old letter in German still stuck inside from the 60’s. .

Sharing my Gwen Frostic Collection

I have a collection of Gwen Frostic poems and prints. Some she has signed. If you don’t know about her, she is a poet and artist who lived in the upper part of Michigan and had a little print shop all her own. She is quite famous around here. She used nature for contemplation and found a lot of inspiration with the birds, trees, seasons. During quarantine I too have been finding my own way of contemplation through whittling. Since I was little I always wanted to try it. I stain wood a lot using a variety of layering colors so carving it was the next learning step I guess. If you swipe 👉 you will see my second creation, St. Therese of Lisieux. She typically holds flowers and the rosary. I still have much to learn but I’m having fun. What has inspired you during this time of reflection? .

The book of Philemon

What do you miss?? These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s ok! .

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The book of Philemon is a brief letter from Paul to Philemon begging for the freedom of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He asks Philemon to think of Onesimus instead as a brother in Christ. Onesimus knows he must return to his owner because it is the honest thing to do, but this time he comes with a letter, an appeal for his freedom, to be seen and treated as a brother and friend. .

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For a moment we are still. Ask yourself, what do you really miss? It is the question I’ve been asking myself lately as I remember old projects and ambitions I had my heart set on before quarantine. As this time allows for stillness I can self-examine without the usual distractions asking myself—What was holding me captive? Or do I now feel like a prisoner?

I can tell you with all honesty that I don’t miss anything except the freedom to hang out and be close to my family and friends. Host little bbqs, make food for them, talk at a short distance, and even though I’m not much of a hugger, I even miss those. That’s it. My old projects took me to Detroit a lot, but when I think of it, I’ve never been a city girl and lately all I can think about is owning a sheep farm (for milk) and possibly making it a spiritual retreat. I wanted to work with animals when I was a child, where did that inclination go? I have found that I don’t think my purpose is protesting injustice and speaking out aggressively against anything, that is not my nature. God made me for a reason, so what is the honest thing for myself & God’s call for me? It is instead feeding people, whether spiritually or with actual food, beauty, color, light—probably why I loved working the soup kitchen so much. I think if we all asked this question (what do I really miss?) and went back to the places from which we began, I think we would find new things of ourselves.

Heavenly Blue Morning Glories, a favorite of Vita Sackville-West

Lost Garden Story: I love morning glories. This heavenly blue variety was a favorite of Vita Sackville-West. After five years I am still trying to find the perfect spot for them and the time to plant them. It seems I keep planting them too late; they never bloom until the frost comes in the fall, and unless I cover them every night they die. This year I tried to outsmart them by starting the seeds indoors two weeks before the last frost. Pictures above are my flowers through the years and my little seedlings this year! I love the way their centers glow! I’m planting them back in the spot they liked most, the west side garden fence with trellis’ to give them more room to climb. I hope to have the beautiful heavenly blues again in my garden this year, hopefully to enjoy way before the frost hits! .

Irish Poem…

A SONG OF FREEDOM

by Alice Mulligan .

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In Cavan of little lakes / As I was walking with the wind / And no one seen beside me there / There came a song into my mind / It came as if the whispered voice / of one, but none of human kind / Who walked with me in Cavan then / And he invisible as wind. .

The First Book of Chronicles

These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s OK!

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“…Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so I may know how many there are.” —1 Chronicles 21:2

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Most of the first part of Chronicles is a genealogical list, which I skipped in my reading. But then the book goes on to speak of David’s

rule as king. As king, David did the best he could, but like all humans he was not perfect. He’s written some of the most beautiful psalms (poems & songs) deticated to God,

because he truly felt he and God were in it together, he truly felt God’s presence in his life and it overwhelmed and inspired him. So the fact that he asks for his troops to be counted so he can measure his army’s strength is very unlike him. In this action he separates himself from God and is relying only on numbers, & on his own strength and pride. The simple definition of ‘sin’ is an act which separates us from God. So David was wrong to count the strength of his men, when he knew (and it had been proven to him many times) that God had his back, that God was with him. By this he pushed God away, thus separating himself from God, thus committing a ‘sin’. But don’t worry, our ‘sins’ are not counted by God. I think this shows that fact. That neither we should count against God, nor should we think God is counting against us. We simply try to keep our faith, and pray God will help us keep our faith in Him. We must hold fast to the sleeve of God’s robe or to God’s hand like a child who does not want to be lost in a world crowded with trivialities. In David’s case he said he was sorry to God and went on his merry way, hand in hand with Him (or if you like, Her) after this, and left with us his beautiful and inspiring dedications to his One & Only True Love.

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