Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hail and Blest

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Sunday was the first day of the Season of Advent. My daughter went into my closet and got out the cranberry red, flat glass dish that serves as my Advent wreath these days. I also have three dark red candles in glass that represent the three purple candles of the Advent wreath and one white candle in glass the represents both the rose or pink candle for the last week of Advent and the White candle that is supposed only to be lit starting Christmas Eve, representing the pure Christ Child.

I would prefer my old Advent Wreath that needed to be decorated every year and held the correct colored candles, but as life has gone on, I've learned that things are not always perfect and you make do with what you have. After all, it's more important to actually observe Advent than to worry too much about wreaths and colored candles, within reason of course.

Today is the feast of St. Andrew and today we begin the Novena of Christmas Anticipation. The prayer begins "Hail and blest be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem in the piercing cold." And there in lies the crux of the meaning of all these day of Advent and the day that crowns it all, Christmas, the day that Jesus, the Christ, the anointed, was born.

This season is about preparing our souls, our inner being, for the most magnificent moment in human history - the moment when the Almighty God deigned to join His creation in it's human form. The moment when God chose to join humans in feeling the comfort of a mother's embrace, the joys of friendship, the camaraderie of being part of a family but also in feeling the bite of hunger and cold, tiredness and the stabbing pain of betrayal. Can we ever fully comprehend, completely?

Just like any human endeavor, you have to put in the time and effort to get the reward. Christmas is no different. If you don't avail yourself of the time of preparation that Advent gives us, Christmas will be no more to you than one joyful day of hopefully being with family and friends and giving or receiving presents. It will be a time of Jolly Fat Men dressed in red ringing a bell, snowmen when there isn't even snow on the ground, lights on houses and carols, old and new that are awful, trite and so overplayed that I guess most people don't even here the words that are being sung by sometime in December, considering that the carols get played on radio stations earlier and earlier each year. This year, I started hearing them just after Halloween was over.

Which is a shame, because without Advent, the world stops celebrating Christmas shortly after the 25th of December, which is when the Christmas Season actually does begin. And what a wonderful season it is!

Retailers assume that the Christmas Season starts at the beginning of November and so the real Christmas season doesn't have commercial constantly trying to get you to buy, buy, buy! The Advent Wreath has all it candles lit, and it burns cheerily. Family is no longer bound to the secular "Christmas Season", so getting days off to spend with family is easier and less stressful. Singing songs to the "New Born King" makes more sense after Christmas Day than for 32 days before He is even born.

You must have heard the song by now, "We need a little Christmas! Right this very minute!" but I disagree. We need a LOT of Advent, for the next 25 days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011


As I am laying here in bed with my husband snoozing beside me, all I can think of is his workbench in the garage. His workspace is not what you would call perfectly clean. There are greasy things there, tubes of adhesives, and there is sawdust. There are cans of paint with so much paint dried on the label that you don't have to guess at the color of the paint on the inside.

You know what you won't see? You won't see screws, washers, nails or tools. These things are all put away in drawers or cans or chests. The cans have crude, but clearly written labels on them. Want a washer? It's in that can. Want a ratchet? The ratchet and sockets are in that chest. I'm not really sure what is in the drawers, but I'm pretty sure that Nate knows what is in them.

And that is the way that Nate is. In fact, after having four sons, I'm pretty sure that is the way most men, and some lucky women are. They have drawers that they put events and emotions in when they are done with them.

Teenage angst? Top drawer on the left, the one with the lock on it.

Family drama? Okay depends, if it is off spring or wife drama it's in the top right drawer, the one with a lock on it. If it is drama from any other family member, it's in the chest under the work bench, with the padlock on it.

Financial worries? It goes in the third draw down on the left.

Work problems? Second draw from the bottom on the right hand side.

On and on. Every drama, every worry, every anger has it's place in these mental chests. They get dealt with, they get put away in the right drawer and sometimes they never see the light of day again.

And with all these issues dealt with and neatly put away, Nate slumbers peacefully away ...... while I sit here, my blood pressure slightly raised, issues tumbling around my brain, keeping me awake.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Page From My Daybook, November

Today is - . rainy and drizzly. It was so dark out that my day slipped away. I was surprised when I looked at the clock and it was already 2 PM

I am thinking about - all my family that have left this world in Novembers passed; both my grandfathers, my great grandmother and one of my favorite Aunts. I am astounded to think that both my grandfather, and his mother, which is my great grandmother, died on the same day, 80 years apart! On that day a niece and nephew were born. It is just coincidence, but sometimes it feels like a message with a secret!

I am thank full - I am thank full that I was able to take a trip to Long Island this week and visit my parents and my oldest sons. I am thankful that we were all able to get together, despite schedules. I am grateful that my father was able to make us his delicious pineapple upside down cake. I am concerned because he looks so much smaller and thinner than when I saw him a year ago.

I am looking forward to - spring! I have had it with the cold, and it isn't even winter yet! I am looking forward to trying my hand at growing a pumpkin again. And trying to grow tomatoes and peppers. Maybe the summer of 2012 we will be left alone, and I can be burdened with "too many zucchini" like everyone else!

I dream of - the day when everyone in my family is settled into a career that they love that provides a living wage and benefits. Including me!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Halloween Story Part Five

"Aren't you creeped out to be home alone on Halloween night? Especially when Reagan acted that weird way before?" Erin asked anxiously.

"No, I wasn't, until you just bought it up." Ria said heatedly. Then she was instantly sorry. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you."

"It's okay, I understand. Sorry if I creeped you out even more than you were?"

"You didn't." Ria lied. She'd actually had been fine before calling Erin, now the house felt ominously quiet.

"Should I ask my parents if I can stay with you at your house until your parents come home?"

Ria gave herself a mental shake. "No really, I'm fine. I need to find Reagan and see how he's doing. Poor kitty!"

"You sure you don't want to stay on the phone until your parents come home?" At Ria's 'no,' Erin continued "Okay, but if you need me, call and I'll be there in minutes!"

Ria could just imagine her friend running down the road in her costume. She chuckled. "Okay Erin. You know you really are a great friend!"

Before looking for Reagan, Ria took off her costume pieces and put them back into the trunk. She didn't bother to take off her face paint before laying on her stomach and looking under her parents bed for Reagan. He wasn't there.

Ria went into the kitchen pantry and got out a can of cat food. Usually just opening the pantry door was sound enough to drive Reagan into the kitchen, rubbing against her leg, the wall and the kitchen chair legs purring, but not tonight.

"Reagan! Here kitty!" she called. Still Reagan didn't come.

Ria ignored the more quietly working, manual can opener for the noisy, electric can opener. As expected, the electric can opener whined and whirred and clunked as it laboriously opened the can of cat food. Usually Reagan would have been driven insane by now. Tonight he remained a no show.

Could Reagan still be freaked out by what he had heard earlier? Ria began to look for him in his favorite hiding places. It was only after she finished checking the last place, on top of the water heater, that Ria noticed the window curtain caught in the back door. She was sure she hadn't left the house with the curtain caught in the back door.

Did her brother come into the house before getting his car and leaving? Had Reagan gotten out?

Quickly Ria checked the usual message centers in the house for a note from her brother saying that Reagan had gotten out. There was none but it was the only answer because she had checked the whole house for Reagan and not found him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're worried about 72 days

So it's official, Kim Kardashian's marriage is over after 72 days. Not only is it a personal tragedy, apparently it is a tragedy to all the fans that watch, that invest themselves, into the Kardashian reality show.
C'mon people, get a life!!!!
You know what divorces worry me? The divorce of a couple that has been married 30 or more years. It's pretty easy to figure why a 72 day marriage didn't work out, but why did a marriage of 35 years break up?
Was it because the marriage only stayed together for the sake of the children, even when they became young adults?
Was it because of the selfishness of one or both spouses going through a mid-life crisis?
Or did the marriage breaking up have a message or advice that those of us in intact marriages could learn from?
The breaking up of long term marriages is what gets my attention.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Halloween Story, Part 8

The other riders began to arrive and the thundering of oncoming horses began to lessen. From her hiding place, Ria couldn't be sure of how many horses were there. Twenty? Fifty? Were there more? She couldn't be sure. The black horse was still plowing through the woods seeking her. Every so often, the rider would call out in frustration "I know you're here!"

The group parted and from their midst emerged a rider who must be their leader. His horse was as large as any of the others, but the saddle was of a much better quality. It's suppleness shone in the increasing moonlight. He had two lamp carrying riders on either side of him.

"Balfour! What are you doing?"

Balfour immediately stopped his search. "I smelled a human, my lord." There was the sound of muffled laughing from the group.

"Of course you smelled human, you half wit! There's a housing development on the other side of this median!" the leader thundered. "Get out of those woods and get into your position!"

The leader addressed the other riders. "Did you recapture that black cat?"

"No my lord." the other three riders answered almost shamefully.

"No matter, we're sure to come across another one along our ride." He turned to one of his lantern bearers. "Give the signal to assemble. We have far to ride before the moon is at it's height."

The lantern bearer pulled a goat's horn from his tunic and blew. The sound was nothing like a horn and yet indescribable. It made Ria shiver. The original four riders assembled into a column of two, and began riding forward. The other horsemen began riding behind them, also in columns of two, except for the leader who was still flanked by his lantern bearers.

The procession seemed to take hours to pass. Ria didn't stir until the sound of the last horse hoof had faded away. Then she cautiously got up, slowly, still listening, in case one of the riders had stayed behind without her realizing. Ria turned on her flashlight and scanned the woods, looking for the black cat. It was nowhere to be seen.

May-be Reagan had had enough of being outside by this time, Ria hoped. For herself, she had had enough of the woods for one night. She made her way to the dirt road and started to walk home, still listening for the sound of horse hooves.

When she was near home, she hear her name being called. "Ria? Ria!" called her younger sister Katie.

"I'm here!" she began to run toward Katie's voice.

"Ria! What were you doing in the woods on Halloween night? I'd never go in the woods on Halloween night!" Katie gave a shudder.

"I was looking for Reagan."

"In the woods? He was in the shredded paper box next to Daddy's desk. It was like he dug himself down into the paper. He's never done that before. I wonder why he did it tonight?"

I'm sure I know. Ria thought, but she only said "Hmmmm......." as they climbed the steps of the back deck and entered their house.

Every entry on this blog, as well as pictures and photos are the property of Mary Bennett, copyright 2010. Violators will be prosecuted. To use any part of this blog elsewhere, please contact me prior for permission. Items used without prior permission for any reason will be prosecuted.
The conclusion of this story may be to mature for younger children. Parents are strongly advised to read these blog posts first before allowing their children to read it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Halloween Story, Part Seven

The moon was supposed to be full that night, but it was still rising as she crossed the thin wooded strip and stood on the dirt road.

"Reagan! Here kitty!" she called in a voice she hated. She could hear her own fear in it.

C'mon girl! she chided herself. Look around. These are the same trees that you've walked past a thousand times! You've sat at the base of these trees and read books.

Still, the woods seemed spooky.

Ria called for Reagan, pointing the flashlight at piles of leaves or among nests of roots as she walked along. She walked along for about thirty minutes before she saw a black cat rubbing itself on the rough bark of a leafless tree. From where Ria stood, she couldn't be sure if the cat was Reagan.

"Reagan?" she called softly. The cat didn't come to her, but it did meow in response. "You've come a long way boy. Why so far tonight of all nights?"

The cat stiffened. Its ears were so tuned into the sound, it seemed to Ria that they vibrated. Ria listened and at first she heard nothing. Then it seemed as though the ground was starting to vibrate. The vibration grew in intensity until it sounded like the thundering of the hooves of many horses.

People occasionally rode horses down the dirt road, although not at night. When that happened, the usual practice was to step slightly off the road for the rider to pass. But this time Ria felt a rising of terror, apparently shared by the cat, because it bolted off the road and into the woods. Ria could hear it's passage as it tore through brambles, making crackling sounds, only slightly ahead of her own frantic flight.

The sound of the oncoming hooves was unbearably loud now, and impulsively, Ria dropped to the ground and wiggled under a pile of leaves and bramble. She was so frightened that her lungs felt like they were burning, and her breath came in loud heaves that she prayed could not be heard over the sound of the horses thundering hooves.

It was only minutes later that the horsemen came in sight. There were six of them. The horses were huge, bigger than any that Ria had ever seen in her life. They seemed more likely to have come out of a nightmare than to be real. The eyes were rimmed with bright red, the eyes themselves were bottomless black pools. Great clouds of steam came out of the snorting nostrils.

The riders had stopped because the lead rider had held up a huge gloved hand signalling them to stop. In the distance, Ria could still hear the thunder of more horses approaching.

"I smell humans." the first rider growled removing his helmet. It was skull shaped with embossing around the brim.

"There are humans living just on the other side of those woods." The rider lifted up in the saddle as if to stretch his legs from a long ride.

"It be a shame if some of them were in the woods now." The first rider replied with a nasty chuckle.

"They won't be. They are busy gathering candy at this time of night. The children are anyway." It was the third rider who spoke. His saddle supported a long pole, from which hung a macabre lantern, a cat skull with a candle inside of it.

"And the mothers are home alone, just on the other side of those woods?" asked the first rider. "Mayhaps we have time for just a little bit of mischief, eh boys?"

They all laughed.

The fourth rider was silent. Ria studied him. He too carried a lantern attached to his saddle, it was a cat's skull, bigger than the first lantern. All the riders were dressed in black leather, but the fourth rider looked darker than the others. Ria imagined it was as dark as a black hole in space would be.

The rider that had removed his helmet slid to the ground from his horse. He was doing some stretches when he suddenly stopped. "I do smell human!" he said ominously.

"I told you, humans...."

"I mean I smell them here!" he interrupted. "Here!" he gestured around the general area. "Not in some neighborhood. Here!"

They all stood still, even the horses stopped their movements.

Ria wondered if they were sniffing the air too, catching her scent. She almost screamed with fright.

The sound of the other horses was getting louder. They were getting closer. Would they all dismount their horses when they arrived, to scour the woods looking for her? They would surely find her if they did.

The rider mounted his horse again, surprisingly quickly for all the armour and the long cloak he wore. He snatched a lantern pole from one of the riders and urged his horse into the woods.

"What are you doing?" one of them called.

"I said I smelled a human!" The horse walked heavily into the woods. Even fallen logs snapped under his mighty step. Ria froze with terror and began to pray that somehow, those mighty hooves would miss her.

Every entry on this blog, as well as pictures and photos are the property of Mary Bennett, copyright 2010. Violators will be prosecuted. To use any part of this blog elsewhere, please contact me prior for permission. Items used without prior permission for any reason will be prosecuted. The conclusion of this story may be to mature for younger children. Parents are strongly advised to read these blog posts first before allowing their children to read it.


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