RECOGNIZING YOUR ROOTS

The Lavender Fields of Provence

OFF THE CUFF Writing

Recognizing your roots.  Recognizing a special person in your life is a good thing.  For me that person was my French grandmother who nurtured all the “French” in me besides my Maman Cherie.

Mame Jane saw life changing from horse and buggy to cars, plumbing and electricity to TV and seeing man walk the moon. No more than 5 feet tall, slightly rotund in the middle with her black hair spun in a thick bun, she dressed in black or violet – her faithful armor of widowhood – and an apron with pockets, one full of bonbons, the other a purple stone rosary.  She gently took me under her wings, cheerfully showing me how to love everything – her cooking par excellence, praying silently, laying flowers on our family grave after Sunday Mass.  I never heard a harsh word or seen an unkind deed from her.  My grandmother shared her faith in silent reverence.  I became her shadow.  She’s the one who watered my roots as a child, while years later my mother Denyse rooted my maturity in her last hill of dreams.  How blessed my roots encourage me every day.

In recognizing your roots, who is the special person who watered your roots as a child?

STORY OF TWO SUITCASES

Saint Josephine Batika and Her Two Suitcases

OFF THE CUFF Writing

Is your daily handbag or briefcase light as a feather, or is it weighed down with anxious preoccupation?  If heavy and spilling over, your load is in “your” control.  If airy light, you’ve learned to trust God enough to have Him help carry “your” load.  That’s when the Lord says to us, “I no longer call your servants, but friends.”  –John 15:15

Either way, Batika said this about carrying her two suitcases:

One carries my sins and the other contains the graces needed to get to heaven.”

“Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him.  What a grace it is to know God!”

Good advice, don’t you think?

 

INFLUENCE OF GREEN

OFF THE CUFF Writing

Growing up I was not fond of anything colored green.  Now the greenness of March recalls a special memory.

During Lent my grandmother Mame Jane would fill a soup plate with water and lentils; it was my task to maintain them moist sitting on top of the radiator.  Puzzled at this French tradition, my grandmother explained that we must be very patient to see the lentils grow tall and form a green sprout for Easter.  What she really meant was that we should go through these 40 days with generous prayer, penance and almsgiving like Jesus had endured in the desert without food and drink.

For sure, God’s ways are not ours.  I fret less if I follow God’s will, seeking Him everywhere he plants wonderful surprises.  We are living in plenteous days of Grace.  If we let ourselves feel the prick of Lent, then we are making a daring dash for heaven moving forward to eternity.

May this ‘off the cuff’ thought bless you today.

 

 

A MAGICAL PLACE

My backyard will soon look like this image

OFF THE CUFF Writing

So fortunate — Our house provides a covered wrap-around deck from east, south, west and north.  Sitting here my eyes and ears wonder at the glory of nature.  The oak trees are still bare while the brush trees begin to climb clover green.  There are plenty of birds and squirrels to feed while enjoying their happy symphonies.  This place is magical for solitude and writing.

“It is not we alone who pray, nor do we pray by our own strength.  It is Jesus who prays in us,” wherever we are.

Prayer can reach where the pen fails to go.”  –Saint Katherine Drexel

That said, I lay down my pen and being led to worship from the gut…