About Me

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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


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Pope Benedict's helicopter circles over St. Peter's Basilica as he leaves the Vatican for the last time as Pope.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Seven VII 7.5 Quick Takes


Photo: "Im takin' a trip on the Gospel ship"
IPhone photo by Miguel
Today is Friday, of course, meaning that tomorrow is Saturday (hooray!).  Charles has a deacon formation training starting tomorrow and lasting until Sunday afternoon, Phoebe, Miguel and I have the dress rehearsal tomorrow from 10:30 - 1:00 for the Gospel Celebration which is taking place (also on) Sunday afternoon.  We have been rehearsing every night this week with Rev. Bobby Lewis from Harlem, who is conducting a choir of 107 singers.  We are all the colors of the rainbow, Christian, Jewish, non-religious, male and female.  He instructs us to "do the natural, and let God do the supernatural".   Phoebe gave this workshop experience to Miguel and me for Christmas, and it is turning out to be one of the best gifts I have ever received.  Both Sunday concerts are sold out!


Apropos of nothing, except that it is funny to see Charles, who is the soul of gravitas, displaying a touch of whimsy.  This photo was taken at his birthday dinner.  Anyway, that is an "Anastasia" party hat.  Why anyone would want to make an animated movie, not to mention kids' party supplies, depicting a young Russian princess, who supposedly escaped the massacre of the whole Romanov family (she really didn't) is beyond me.  But, Phoebe found a bunch of Anastasia party items at Salvation Army and snatched them up (because she has the same twisted sense of humor as her old mom) to use at a future birthday bash.  We got out the hats for Charles' birthday in June.  


It is gray, gray, gray here in Douglas and Juneau.  Today, while sitting at the Rookery enjoying a cup of coffee with my friend Jeanie, who is visiting for FIVE!!!! weeks, she looked out the window and said: "Oh look!  The sun is shining!"  It really wasn't, it was a quick brightening of the sky to pale gray instead of deep gray.  That's how I know that she is an optimist at heart.  If it isn't pouring rain out, Charles is apt to rhapsodize about what a beautiful day it is.  Can you tell I am getting tired of the rain, rain, rain, gloom, gloom, gloom?


We have no money.  But payday is coming up.  We are on a new austerity plan, where we act as if we don't have any money so we don't squander what we have on fripperies like the aforementioned cup of coffee at the Rookery (Jeanie treated me, Charles, I swear!), and using what we have in the cupboards, and not going out to eat, and not using our mostly maxed out credit cards.  The end result will be living debt free in about 20 years.  We'll see how it goes.  It is pretty easy to act as if we don't have any money, when we actually, in fact, don't have any money.  Anybody have any great money-saving, debt reducing, frugal living tips?


Speaking of Spanish, I wish I was a better Spanish speaker.  (Say that fast five times.)  No, I really do.  I studied Spanish in high school, where I was mostly scolded by my teacher for not automatically being able to speak Spanish because my last name was Gonzales.  I flippantly asked her if she spoke Gaelic because her last name was Flynn.  (I was kind of a smart ass in high school).  All that got me was an extra assignment.  Anyway, my dream is to go to a six week Spanish Immersion program to become fluent.  There is only one barrier to this dream (see 4, above).


Frida The Zipper Eating Dachshund has now chewed the zippers off of seven different garments.  I stopped by our local seamstress to ask if she could fix them, and she told me that she could, for $35.00 EACH, except for Miguel's khaki pants, which she could do for $25.00.  "Zippers take a lot of time," she told me.  I think I will learn to put in zippers and open my own zipper replacement business.  I could be RICH! RICH!, I tell you (see 4, above)!


I got nothin'.  Oh wait, there is this:  Spring is just around the corner!

Spring is just around the corner


And finally, this:

The illustrations in Charles' book The Illuminated Easter Proclamation, published by Liturgical Press, are now available on a CD-ROM, suitable for projection during the proclamation of the Exsultet in your very own parish!  Tell your friends!  Get your own copy here!

And, head on over to see Jen at Conversion Diary for more quick takes!  

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 205)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Holy Father's Resignation, St. Valentine's Day, And The Grow Your Blog Giveaway Winner!

The Holy Father's Resignation...

I'm sure you were all as stunned as I was when I woke up on Monday morning to this news:

Pope Benedict leaves behind a room full of stunned cardinals and Vatican staff after his surprise announcement.
"Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
 Of course, my first concern was for the health of the Pope...did he have a serious illness? Was he dying? After listening to many news reports and commentators and reading posts by some of my favorite Catholic bloggers, I was reassured that he merely wishes to retire because of advanced age and increasing frailty. This is not unprecedented, but it might as well be for us, since it hasn't happened in 600 years! So he will be leaving office on February 28th and we will anxiously watch and wait as the conclave commences. The world will be watching for the white smoke from the chimney at St. Peter's Basilica. Pray for him, and for the new pope, who ever he will be, and please, pray for the Church as we make this transition.

...St. Valentine's Day...

One of my favorite ways to celebrate St. Valentine's Day is to make my own cards.  I invited some young friends and their parents to come over on Saturday evening to make homemade cards with me.  We had such a fun time!

Maggie, Ani and Jessica
Toby and Molly

Molly and Jackson
The kids show off their finished cards
I don't subscribe to the Hallmark version of St. Valentine's Day, which seems to (mostly) acknowledge romantic love on this day. While our sweethearts deserve a special day, it is also important to me to let my family and friends know how much I love them on St. Valentine's Day as well.  And of course, I want to include my followers, including my newest ones(!) in those good wishes!  

And so, here is my special St. Valentine's Day greeting for all of  you:

And here is my lovely, perfect red rose from MY sweetheart, Charles:

...And Finally...The Winner!

The winner of the Icon Prayer Shrine from my Grow Your Blog post is:

RACHEL from Go Placidly!!!!! 

Rachel is a lovely young lady who lives in the "middle-ish" of the UK.  Check out her blog!
Congratulations Rachel!! Please send me your snail mail address so I can send you your Prayer Shrine!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Feast Of St. Agatha, Patroness of Women With Breast Cancer

Today is the feast of St. Agatha of Catania, Sicily.

Born into a rich and noble family, she was pursued by the prefect Quintianus, but she rejected his advances.  He retaliated by having her persecuted for her Christian faith.  When she was threatened because she did not acknowledge the pagan Roman gods, she responded:

"My courage and my thoughts are so firmly founded upon the first stone of Jesus Christ, that for no pain it may not be changed; your words are but wind, your promises are but rain, and your menaces are as rivers that pass, and how well that all these things hurtle at the fundament of my courage, yet for that it shall not move."

She was tortured by the cutting off of her breasts, and then, martyred.  Before she died, her breasts were miraculously restored to her.   Hence, St. Agatha is the patroness of women with breast cancer.

Icon of St. Agatha written by Charles Rohrbacher

Icon prayer shrine of St. Agatha
If any of you are interested in purchasing a print of St. Agatha, or a St. Agatha prayer shrine for someone you know living with breast cancer, let me know.  100% of the proceeds go to Team Perseverance, a local support organization for women with breast cancer.

Through the intercession of St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, 
 may God console, heal and deliver 
all women with breast cancer.  
St. Agatha, pray for us!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christmas is Officially Over: The Presentation Of The Lord

Icon by Charles Rohrbacher

Today, we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of The Lord, also known as Candlemas.

The feast commemorates the Presentation of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem, a journey of almost 93 miles from Nazareth.  The Holy Family would've had to walk the entire way, or perhaps Mary rode the same donkey that took them to Bethlehem, which was an 80 mile trip.  I like the image of Joseph leading the donkey carrying Mary and the 40 day old Jesus.

 The donkey was probably thinking: "Here we go again!"
Once they arrived at the temple (after a quick stop at the pigeon merchant to pick up a couple for the sacrifice), they completed the presentation and requisite sacrifice.  Simeon, a man who had been given a promise from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, took Jesus and held him up and declared:

"Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.  
For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 
Which you have prepared for all people.  
A light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel."

And then a prophetess named Anna came up to them and thanking God, spoke about Jesus to everyone there who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

I can only imagine Mary and Joseph's reaction to all of this.  All of the amazing things that had happened to them before and after Jesus was born: angels, shepherds, not one, not two, but three visiting kings, and now this.  They must have been overwhelmed with wonder.  And Jesus, a little 40-day-old baby, was no doubt doing little baby-like things, and not acting at all fazed by all the fuss.

I love this story.

One of the ways that this feast is celebrated is by blessing all the candles that will be used in the Church throughout the year.  Families bring candles to church to be blessed for their homes and we light candles during the ceremony to remind us that Christ is the Light of the World. 

It is a beautiful custom, and a wonderful way to bring an end to the Christmas season!