Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #10 and Mary

Even though it's Thanksgiving you readers are so wild about Nooks and Crannies that I went ahead and found one for today. But I'm also including a reflection from my favorite poet, Mary Oliver.

I went down to our ground floor where we keep personal supplies to pick up something like Kleenex and in the process thought I'd keep my eye out for nooks and crannies--a basement would seem to be full of them. Here is the entrance into the hall that keeps supplies--in those cabinets on the right.

I was just looking around a little and this is what I found--in three little plastic cups, balanced on some extra shelving for the cabinets--someone's private "stash" of wine bottle corks from some of our celebrations!

Now, if you know anything about group living you know that everyone, just everyone, has to find places for their private treasures. It just isn't safe to save something and keep it where there would be public access! No, not thievery, just "borrowing" and forgetting to return. So, it is very true that we all have places in which we stow away special things that we don't want to lose.

This is all preface to the huge grin and laugh that came over me when I saw the corks! Who in the world put these here? Do they remember? And do they still want them? Should I ask around? Should I bring them out and just see if they'll be "picked up"? So many decisions in the course of a day.

On another note, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you have as many things to be thankkful for as I do!

"Three Things to Remember"
Mary Oliver

As long as you're dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our First

November 11th brought the first inch: wet and quick-melting.

November 23rd brought the first winter wonderland. Ta-da:

P.S. I think you'll enjoy this link a lot. Meet Stanley Roseman and his work with monastics.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #8 and #9

There is a room in each of the four corners of our chapel. The smallest holds the equipment for our audio system. Across from it is one that's just a little larger--within it you'd find an assortment of small percussion instruments, lots of music binders and cupboards that store all the numbers and letters for the two hymnal boards.

The two largest hold many diverse things. The lesser known one has four or five stacks of extra chairs that we use whenever the congregation is over 200. It also has a 4-drawer file of hymn copies and accompaniments. Some material for our handbells is in there, as are more musical instruments and a floor-to-ceiling metal shelving unit on which are boxes of prayer folders for all the special feast days in the liturgical year.

The most used of the four rooms is the main sacristy. Here is the view as you open the door. There are vestments for the priest, cupboards of liturgical gowns, candles, incense, a sink and drawers and drawers of things needed for "church work" as it was commonly called.

Invisible from the door and from many other parts of the room are two nooks. One is just a little indentation in the room and the other is simply the space between two huge cupboard units. Both are well used, however, as all little spaces often are. (Can you see the little mouse trap?!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Salt Time

Look what I saw when I was going out the side door this week....Yikes! salt for icy sidewalks and a snow shovel. There was also a sign on the bulletin board asking us to check our cars for scrapers and snow brushes. Winter is upon us.

Well, we did have our first snow a week ago, but the weather is back to its November ups and day in the 60s the next two in the 40s.

My friend, Dianne, heard the owl in our east woods again this week, darn, I haven't heard it yet, though I'm catching sight of deer with dark, dark coats all over our grounds.

Check out our community website for new stories on daily "news." Nooks and Crannies #8 coming Thursday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #7

So many sisters have suggested this nook and cranny that I had to put it in, by popular demand.

Here's what I can piece together: in the 1980s a large number of young women entered the community--none right out of high school. I surmise that it was a bit of a rockin' place then, so in time they "discovered" a hidden area where they could go to "escape." Some admit to smoking occasionally (they were to quit in order to enter the community); Others tell of playing cards and still others talk about having "parties." I suspect the parties were mostly eating events with "forbidden" foods like pizza and McDonald's fries brought in. Anyway, this hiding place is a true nook and here it is today (the area under the chapel!).

Now, in an effort toward full disclosure I want you to know that a 60-year-old while exploring says, "What if the door closes and locks behind me? What if the ceiling starts to fall down right now? What if I trip and sprain my ankle, who will find me?" So sad; where are those carefree times of the 30-year-old, when we entered shouting, "Give me a light, will you? Who brought the pizza and beer? Anyone want to play rummy?"

Our first snow of the season--November 11, 2013.

PS. Since many of you readers may not be 30 I'm happy to appease your worrying and let you know that the door did not lock, the ceiling did not come down and I did not trip, fall and sprain an ankle getting these photos---so there!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Unusual Weekend

Yes, this weekend had three unusual things about it, one small and the other two rather large. The small one is that we hosted yet another faith group, but they are not your standard brand Christians, though they are Christian. They are from all over the country, about 20 or so of them, and they are the Community of Light and Love or something close to that. Very nice people and happy to be in our facilities for their gathering. This type of hospitality, to various faith groups, is one of the greatest "gifts" that we can offer, I believe.

The two larger oddities, well not really oddities just not your run-of-the-mill weekly events, are these:

1) Courtesy of one of the oblates, we received Flowers of Maui for our chapel environment. Now there can't be any more dissimilar places at this time of year than the Great Lakes plains and Maui, Hawaii. But, here they are in our chapel looking very out of place, yet very beautiful.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

The accompanying brochure tells us that they are:
The duster-looking long red ones are a type of ginger;
The orange horizontal spikes are Birds of Paradise;
The large leaf-like ones are Anthurium;
The wispy round ones are Pincushion;
and the long yellow spikes are another type of ginger.

2) We have three lovely women visiting us these days. One is looking into our Benedicta Riepp one-year program and the other two into our community as postulants. They are all here for a 4-5 day visit and their times overlapped over the weekend. This group does not include another gal who was here two weeks ago for her second or third visit and is considering entering also. What is going on here? What are they seeing, wondering, praying about, considering? Truly I love it here, for sure, but it's always still a bit amazing to me when women are drawn here and come, see and consider "turning their life upside down" toward what they are seeking. I say this because I don't think that in another time 18-year-olds felt that their life was turned inside-out when they entered the community right after high school. But, if you're 40 or 50--my goodness--that is quite a different decision. Either way, it's very, very nice to have visitors such as these gals among us.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #6

We had a sister of happy memory who was a true character--capital C. One of her more interesting habits was to seclude herself in our "phone booth." Yes, we had phones in our rooms at that time, but she had this need to get herself into the little phone booth nook and talk away for hours.

We use to wonder if maybe she thought it was private and couldn't be heard from the hall outside but, since its doors are louvered, sound escapes easily, as did her entire conversation!

Anyway, she is now in her heavenly home but the phone booth is still standing, albeit with a rather old fashioned portable phone now instead of the original wall hook up.

The booth is still available---if you can find it. It's in plain sight, yet quite hidden---and therefore well qualifies as nook and cranny #6.

PS. We really miss this sister--a unique character for sure; we don't have anyone that's in her league. I don't think it's something you can "learn," you just are one--it's a gift!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Art of Looking

I'm reading a chapter in a book about seeing, "The Art of Looking." In that vein I offer some things I saw differently over the last few days.

On a ride around our peninsula we spotted this duck blind set almost in the bay at the end of a rarely traveled road.

This pond was so still I thought the reflection would be almost perfect and I think it is.

One day the morning sky was so eerie that it looked like our city was surrounded by mountains. This shot was taken from our fourth floor windows in town. In reality the clouds were almost totally black.

Here is everyone's favorite tree, which I now know is a larch. Wispy, lovely and the last to lose its fern-like leaves each year. Just beautiful and right outside our dining room windows for all to see.

This is my best "new sighting." As I passed this weather-worn birdhouse at our side door,  I thought I saw some etching or carving on it and sure enough, when I got closer, there was a little bird and some flowers. What I didn't expect was the engraved metal piece right underneath. It says, "In loving memory of Sr. Mary Helen Maher." Sister Mary Helen died about 17 years ago in a car crash, along with her mother, sister and brother-in-law. 

If you missed the video of the little boy and Pope Francis that went viral on the internet last week you can see it here on YouTube. It's delightful!