Tuesday, 17 October 2017



The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It's in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

By Rainer Maria Rilke

{Photos on Fujifilm 200 and 400, taken on a Pentax K1000.}

Saturday, 14 October 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


{Pictured: silver dollar pancakes from St. Matthew's Day.}

I don't remember where I read it, or even if I did read it. It is a thought that is knitted into my knowledge, its roots planted there without recognition.  The more we draw closer to God, the harder it is to go back to "real life."  It's a paradox and a conundrum.  I want to live in the presence of Him, and miss Him terribly when I fall away or fall short.  When I do grow close to Him, turning back to the domesticity of everyday life is a bit anti-climactic.  It is like turning back to the country table after having feasted in the castle.  The problem (which is not really a problem, except if I make it one) is that I'm an all-too cerebral soul.  I'm full of lofty ideals and good intentions.  I romanticize the ordinary, but sometimes the ordinary falls short of my romanticizing.  And that's okay.  It doesn't make it any less sacred.  This is what it means to live in a God-breathed world.

These days, I am trying to be cheerful when I turn away from my mystical inclinations toward the drudgery of dirty laundry, and wiping noses, and cleaning children who soil themselves for the second (or third) time in one day.  And I tell myself -- it is not a prayer or a hope or even a mantra -- that I serve Jesus profoundly in these tasks.  That it is, in fact, an honor greatly bestowed upon me, carefully chosen, and undeserving, to clean a disabled child who cannot use the toilet.  I know this to be truth.  And then I think about the people, about the society, who don't know this is true, and I feel grateful.


Sunday, 8 October 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Taken on Kodak 400 film with Pentax k1000 camera.

Sunday, 1 October 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Film Summer

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

"Christ embodies the ideal of human perfection: in Him all bias and defects are removed, and the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed; therefore, His true followers will be progressively exalted over their natural limitations. That is why we see in holy men a tenderness and a truly maternal solicitude for the souls entrusted to them while in holy women there is manly boldness, proficiency, and determination." - Edith Stein

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Pied Beauty

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Afon: waiting patiently for his eggs at our diner.

Roan: glued to the spot, for some reason.  Eating his Jammy Dodger.

Afon has come a long incredibly in only two weeks at his new school.  He is asking for things outright instead of grunting or expecting us to intuit, which makes cooperation between us all so much smoother.  I've been able to sit down with him and sing and play hand games and tickle him, while keeping his attention!

Roan starts playgroup tomorrow, but it is not his first time on the playground.  Roan has started spitting on his cuts and booboos.  The instinct to treat wounds with saliva must be a primal one.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Something for Mary

September is here at last (probably my favorite month--but ask me again in October--and then November!) and it's time to crack down on reestablishing rhythm.  I've got the major feast days and memorials of the month pasted onto my Facebook page.  Because let's be honest, that's the surest place I'll never lose them.  We have a little bit more time to gather ourselves now that Afon is back at school; stepping outside is a like a brisk shower.  It's just bright enough, just windy enough, just chill enough to wake-you-up!  And that gave me the little spritz I needed to do something for the Nativity of Mary.

All short cuts here.  I bought ready-made frosting and an easy mix for the sponge cake.  Roan readily helped me smoosh stir the batter and add the food coloring.  We baked our cake, added globs of icing, and I prettily penned a birthday message with store-bought writing icing.  All we needed then were a few candles...

He nod-spasmed along to "Happy Birthday," we said a Hail Mary, and dug in!  Roan gave a kiss to Our Lady of Walsingham (with some prompting).  He fed her her cake as well (that was all him).

Sunday, 10 September 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Roan:  running.  Somewhere, nowhere, anywhere.

It was Afon's first week at his new school, and I wanted to get a picture of him in his new uniform on his way, but it didn't happen.  It's tough getting pictures of elusive imps and mischievous changelings, didn't you know?

Sunday, 20 August 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Afon + Roan:  enjoying ice cream of an autumn-ish evening in Queen's park.

Thursday, 17 August 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Sunday, 6 August 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Afon:  eating ice cream at Towyn.

Roan:  setting off in the morning.  He has a big gash between his eyes, and I debated leaving it alone and untouched, but in the end, I thought it distracted too much from  his lovely face!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Anne Hathaway

‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’ 
(from Shakespeare’s will)

 The bed we loved in was a spinning world 
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas 
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words 
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses 
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme 
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch 
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. 
Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed 
a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance 
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. 
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on, 
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love – 
 I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head 
as he held me upon that next best bed.

-- Carol Ann Duffy

Saturday, 29 July 2017


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Saturday, 22 July 2017

An Oxford Pilgrimage, Part 1

My sister said, "We're going to Oxford.  Start saving."

That was back in March.  She and my parents planned to visit from the States mid-July, and Caroline was astonished I'd never been there.  Wasn't I the one who blathered on about my pipe dream of attending Oxbridge?  Who read seventeen C.S. Lewis books her first year in college?  Who wouldn't allow her little sister to attend The Fellowship of the Rings movie premier without first finishing The Hobbit?  Unacceptable!

With my folks in town, they could help take care of Roan so John could focus on Afon.  So on Tuesday afternoon we packed up and caught the train--about a four-hour journey with two change-overs--and arrived at the little guest house she'd booked on Banbury Lane, north of the city center.

We had no idea what we were doing, but we knew we didn't want to join a tour.  We're painfully aware of tourists clogging up the thoroughfares of natives when traveling in packs and wanted to avoid that like the plague.  Also, we had our own priorities and wouldn't appreciate being told where to go when, and how long to linger.  So with a cursory look over a map and Fr. Longenecker's suggestions, we set out on the bus Wednesday morning and deposited ourselves into Oxford.

We started at Christ Church College, through the gates onto the gravel drive parallel with the golden stone hall on one side and open fields on the other.  Asian tourists swarmed in knots, taking pictures, and we declined paying ten pounds to see the staircase and dining hall as seen in Harry Potter and ducked in a gate that cut across a garden, peaceful and quiet, disturbed only by one or two tourists and the occasional student.

This led to a side street through a wall, and we passed a set of doors that peeked into a courtyard.

A man lifted the rope and walked through, carrying two long, dry branches.  Bearded, white-haired, in a dirty dress shirt and slacks, willowy and withered, he looked like a shipwrecked sailor.  He said,  in a pristine old-world Oxford accent: "Sorry, I can't let you in."

"That's okay," we said, "We're just looking!"

We started to leave, and maybe it was our polite obedience or maybe he had been joking, but he stopped me and told me to "call back my friend," because he would let us in.

He unhooked the rope and showed us around.  This turned out not to be part of Christ Church at all, but a small college called Corpus Christi.  It the the closed solitude of a private garden.  Our caretaker-tour guide led us into a small corridor and into the dining hall.  This is where the students take their meals.  The walls are lined with the paintings of important, head people.  The benches had recently been replaced by chairs, at the behest of the ladies who attend faculty meetings there.

From there he led us to the chapel, explaining how it'd recently been renovated and only just lost the yucky smell, a privilege for us.  It had that old church scent of treated wooden pews and ancient incense, smoke and wax burned from liturgical candles.  A stained glass window depicting Saint Christopher was set behind the altar, below which a "wooden thing" had been installed or updated with the repairs.

Across a stone-paved courtyard, he showed us through an opening in the wall and said we could get good views of Christ Church through there.  The garden was empty.  "I'll leave you here," he said.

Caroline said, "Take a picture of me with this giant tree."  To be fair, it was a pretty amazing tree.  A giant.  #treefans

We passed through the doorway into the small walled garden and greeted our host again and asksed him what we should do.  He told us that if anyone stopped us on the way out to say that David let us in.  Then we went through into the stone courtyard

and out again in the street.  We passed through another gate into the main road, past shops, and museums, and the solemn stone faces of medieval buildings.