See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Extend Love to another person

We as Christians are called to extend Love to another, "the whole person". The reason being that we find God's presence in each and every creation. God "is everywhere present and fillest all things." We are therefore called to love even our enemy. Loving someone who lives to hurt you requires forgiveness, and knowing that we are all sinners helps us to look upon another with mercy. You must forgive those, even when they cannot forgive you, putting your feelings last.

So how do we love the whole person? Seeing that person in "a stage of infancy" helps. Like all babies, communication must be non-verbal. Sometimes, the less we say, the better. Our approach must be with a smile to calm their fear. You must meet their needs of hunger, comfort them in their pain, and carry them when they cannot walk. Most of all, let them know they are loved and that they are never alone. And,'s baby steps. Remember the slogan, "did you hug your child today?" Are we not all children? If God is our father, we are His children.

Developing and gaining "trust" with another person, no matter what the age, requires that you put yourself last and be willing to "listen" to their need. Some people are slow to react due to their "hurtful, past or present experiences, sometimes caused by others. Be a friend--extend a hand.

The world will be a better place when we learn to find Christ in others and "learn" to love one another. Then, will we be like children, having a loving Father and knowing His great peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Tonight on our local cable network channel 12, aired a special meeting where residents met with officials and agencies trying to help them pick up the pieces. There was such a large panel of people that I was amazed.

Tornado victims had concerns about mostly trees fallen on their property. Some had trees on their property deposited from other properties unknown "from where." to them. The question? Who is responsible for those trees? I began to see some of the "after effects" of the storm. It may be a very long grind...

Expectations were that of what can the state, town and federal government do for them. Unfortunately, where there is no funding, little. I heard that "when and if" the money came forth, work would be accomplished. The biggest word in the conversation besides the word "if" is patience.

Then one man, was upset because he didn't get the "memo" on the warehouse temporarily established to aid people with non-perishables and other items like, rakes, gloves and groceries. It went from full-time to part-time then, to appointment only, as attendance teetered off. Some goods were sent to replenish local food pantries. He was disappointed in "signage", looking to blame. Shame on those people who should have been grateful instead of "hateful". We are spoiled consumers and our expectations are extended to free-bees. People gave to the tornado victims who did not indicate a particular town, but as I understood, "communities" of people of devastation, sharing as "needed."

I attended to some of the sweetest and unfortunate kind-hearted folks who were appreciative of those who volunteered their time and money to help others. Some giving of their time, everyday to exhaustion. The warehouse brought water and other essentials in a very efficient way to many in need. I say well-done, bravo.

Should I be disappointed by the attitude of a few, or dwell rather on the good things that some do for others because they have a heart for their brothers, including the ungrateful ?

People still cater to the squeaky wheel who will in the end, get the grease, just to shut them up, sadly. "We used say in our neighborhood, "let the baby get his way." Right or wrong, we do.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who is Most Wise

My little posts probably go unnoticed by many while others, have bluntly told me sometimes they find them boring. Some are faithful readers, I wish I knew who you are...

The funny part of this is it doesn't matter if some do not like your stuff. It's my time....Simply put, you cannot make anyone happy. It does make me happy to write, in my "spare time, which is limited by many outside activities.

Recently, the tornado victims have had their share of much to do from our church. Thursday, the community free meal, is expected to be well attended. Anticipating the need for baked items is my concern, since the priest is to be "chef of the day." We welcome all that have need or, wish to attend.

Amongst the many activities, church services are always "my priority", and the subject for today, is the 50th class of our high school, who graduated this weekend, with the hope of further education. Our church was one of many who offered a scholarship. I wish them luck in obtaining the education to become useful servants in our society.

If I had the opportunity to speak to them, I would reference the Troparion of Pentecost. "Blessed are You, O Christ our God, who has shown forth the fishermen as supremely wise," ("most wise" is another way it is written) I hope this class will be most wise in their decision making.

We do not hold fishermen to be wise, obviously they are "made wise". They are made wise by the "Holy Spirit." Through them, we learned who Christ is. And, unfortunately, that is folly to the world.

In wisdom there is strength. I thought about the many years that have passed since my graduation, where many went on to college to learn about what they can do for themselves. They have found the way into the world of materialism, authority and recognition. A road without Christ, for many of my classmates, led to a lack of peace.

The road you choose to take will be either self-serving or selfless. I hope you will be like the wise fishermen, who received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and Life, and "acquire" the Spirit of Peace, on a road that leads to serving your neighbor.

The only question at the end of the road is "did you know and serve Christ, and did you, like the fishermen who were most wise, draw other's into the net?" If you did these things, then you will have "acquired" the spirit of peace.

A road without Christ is a fruitless endeavor. The choice is yours....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Community Help

This past week, yes in fact one week ago today, we recall the events that led up to, during, and after the tornado touched ground in the state of Massachusetts. It has been a truly emotional week, recalling near misses and reaching out to those who were not so lucky.

Like all storms that have been devastating more frequently around the world, the first response is confusion. What do we do and who is in charge. We must go by the "rules" of engagement as if this were a military operation otherwise, we'd be like chickens, running around with our heads cut off. So, organization is a good place to start. Sometimes, it gets in the way of helping and other times, it prevents further devastation from happening. People rushed in with their chain saws attempting to relieve trees from houses, only to have them in their inexperience fall on them. We hear that it has been suspended, and now under proper advisement. Another poor man, working on his roof, unable to afford hiring someone to clean up, fell off of it leaving his family to worry about "him" in addition. Officials quickly marked some homes as condemned, just like we saw on television, homes were color coded with spray paint.

Our church collected non-perishable food items which has now been forwarded to a warehouse locally. Some tornado victims came to the hall to pick up a few grocery items, rakes and gloves. During the week, we had our usual "Community meal," in which we offer to those who wish, a free meal. Thursday we expected more people to come, especially the victims of the tornado. Since they didn't know about it, sadly, none of them came. Years ago, we had radio communication in this town, where the announcer would have broadcast the message that would have reached out to those in need. Ours like so many other stations, have taped music and is not a viable community source. We need to work on reaching the people with greater efficiency. Yes, the red cross came out, and we thank them. IOCC responded and we thank them as well as many other organizations. If you ask who was in charge....few knew. Television postings are not always up-to-date and sometimes the information is wrong. Certainly it does not help those who have lost their homes and have no means of watching. We lost power, some have just recently been restored. Battery operated radios worked.....Cell phones do not always why don't we stick to what does? Communication in this area remains to be a major problem. Roads were closed and people travelling did not know it, many of them heading into the first and second tornado, on their way home from work. Had they been listening to their radio, (if a local station were broadcasting,) they would have not been, as my husband said "stuck" not knowing where to go. It was by radio that I heard the city of Springfield had been hit and Brimfield and Sturbridge as well, on a battery operated radio in the cellar. I was caring for two small children, and I didn't have any notice of an impending storm, until one of my friends called with news of bad weather ahead. Years ago, our town had a warning horn that would alert residents to danger. What happened to that system? We are sitting ducks in this town needing improved ways to reach its people, before and after catastrophic events.

So while the power struggle goes on, who gets to the people? The answer is people do. Our residents were taken in by (neighbor's family and friends). The capacity to love one another still exists here in our community. Tornado Aide was established by compassionate people, through the Internet. Postings of what is needed and where, have answered the call. It is still going on....

Sunday afternoon, I met some of the victims as they came to St. Michael Church for help. I recognized Betty Ann. I hadn't seen her for years. We spent some time talking, and she reached out for the hug that no organization can give. People caring about people.

I have come to realize that the greatest power you can have is on your knees. Established organizations claim their authority in responding to community need, and as good as it is , it does not go far enough. During an emergency other towns and cities may be the protocol to help, but not in a timely manner. You still must rely on those close by to get you to a hospital or out of harms way, in many cases.

People helping people, is where basic immediate needs are met, the old-fashioned personal way. Genuine love for one's neighbor, in a hurting community now devastated by an unexpected tornado, is the response in Massachusetts, which has been enormous by all account. The love and outpouring is immeasurable.

On Saturday, we will have a liturgy at our church for the dead. Those who died will be remembered by many who did not personally know them, except to say, they were our loved ones in our community, our brothers, and sisters, our family.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Surprise TORNADO'S

I'm a person who has premonition. Looking back on what was a beautiful afternoon, I found myself outdoors hanging the wet towel and bathing suit that my grandson wore to the pool prior that day which I washed in the sink. Recalling, that around three o'clock it would be too late to swim in the pool, besides the fact that dinner was to be had shortly. Normally, daddy or mommy would be picking up the kids after a long day's work. By four, Ryan was awake from his nap, and was starving, so he was fed early.

It was odd that I found my missing radio just last week, the one that runs on batteries. Yesterday I placed it on the bureau, thinking, nice to have around in the event of an emergency. Today, in speaking with my sister-in-law Jayne, I recall telling her, that for some reason, around one, while my grandson and I were having our lunch, we talked about being prepared, just in case we had to go down to the cellar. I told him that I ask Jesus to help, calling on His name. Unknowningly, this was hours before the storm.

I didn't have the television on so I didn't know about the "weather" until Fr. Peter called saying that our church service that evening may have to be cancelled due to severe thunderstorms and nasty conditions ahead.

Pre-warnings by family, got us into a state of preparedness. The radio, flashlights, phones, water, meds., food, bottles, and babies diapers, etc. So much to think about in a very short time. We are always somewhat prepared but not for tornado's. This was the real deal, it had struck Springfield, and was on it's!

We decided on where we would be and told others where by phone, just in case, with our cell phones and protection. We lost power, but it came back on. The battery operated radio, told us it hit Brimfield, possibly fifteen minutes or so, away. The next report came that home in Southbridge had been flattened, as well as the airport, and was going in the direction of
Rte 20, and Rte131. John was coming home in the direction of the tornado. He saw the darkness and took shelter at a CVS in Charlton. Angie called from Auburn, not sure of how to come home, as Sturbridge toll booths were taken out, also coming in the direction of the tornado. As she called Bill for instructions as to get home, John was heading toward Worcester Street, having left his shelter, with the first tornado having come through. What he didn't know was that Worcester Street was closed with a second tornado coming, he was headed to Sturbridge, straight into it.

He took shelter once again, this time, at the Host in Sturbridge. It is still unknown how many tornado's actually hit Sturbridge. He came back to Southbridge using the same back road as Angie and Bill, Mashpaug Road. Travel was dangerous due to fallen wires and trees, some were not passable, other's closed.

Bill and Angie are safe, in the tornado hit area, which surrounded them in Sturbridge, and did too much damage to tell about. Especially the airport which abutts them, in Southbridge. He and the grand kids made it home, just before the second tornado came through.

Meanwhile, John, Jayne and Matt, saw the swirling debris from their back door in Charlton, which was the tornado's next destination, after much destruction on the Worcester Street area Or, 131 route of Southbridge. It hit at the end of their road at the intersection.

What happened? When I took preparedness courses, we were always told, don't worry, we never have tornadoes in Southbridge. Bill saw it pass as he was on Main Street, a sight that the weather enthusiast will not forget.

remember the old adage....NEVER SAY NEVER.

Today, although shaken, and very sad over the loss of lives and for those who must contend with the aftermath, I am very thankful for the early warning as "God was with us."

And, I felt His hand in every conversation and action. Our family was saved by our prayers and we are certain of that in each story that I mentioned above.

Looking back, our technology has helped us to safely come out of the storm, as much as possible. Computer readouts showed us where it was coming from, and when. Telephone cell calls enabled us to keep in touch with commuters and family members. And thanks to our dedicated emergency personnel we made our way through the darkness.

Jayne said that she found a piece of someone's shingle in her yard along with a dunk and donut coffee cup.

This is a story I thought I would never have to write...Like the '55 flood, we will pull through, neighbor helping neighbor, and with the faith that is instilled within us, "we know we are never alone."