Babies Don’t Keep

rocking babyI read this poem many years ago, and since I’m aware of several new moms now, and others who are helping take care of new babies, I thought I’d look it up and share it.

Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

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For Crying Out Loud!

Cry out loud

Image by Up Your Ego
via Flickr

We’re not too fond of humiliation in this day and age. And who would be? I’m quite sure people haven’t been fond of humiliation in any age. Needless to say, I experienced some sense of it earlier today and the final upshot is entirely instructive to me.

Without going into too many details, let me say that I think my response was typical. First, I got super mad! “How dare I be treated this way!” Grumbling ensued. Then, I was saddened. “I feel so rejected and hurt.” Crying ensued. Finally, after a couple of hours, I’ve come to my senses. “Why am I so upset? It’s probably nothing! Lots of saintly people are misunderstood–even Jesus! I’m hardly saintly, so why am I carrying on so?” I’m slowly stepping toward acceptance. Relief has ensued.

I just wish I could get to the last step without having gone through the first two! Maybe it’ll be easier next time, though given my history, I’m a little doubtful. I’m just grateful that I didn’t lose my temper and say something nasty, which is very tempting. Or worse, grumble and whine in the background, which is even more tempting and a far worse choice. Having waited a while, I’m glad I did.

Religious Enthusiasm

Jacinta Marto, Lucia dos Santos, and Francisco MartoI can’t help it sometimes… I read something about Jesus and how He has done so much for us and loves us, and then I get excited and enter a season of religious enthusiasm! Unfortunately, I usually get discouraged by my inability to actually be a good person.

Lately, I’ve been inspired by reading about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Marian apparitions have long interested me (maybe fascinated is a better term), and these are no exception. In fact, I learned about them when I was a very little girl, so they’re probably my favorite.

The Catholic Church does not officially recognize all apparitions as authentic, and no Catholic is actually required to believe in them. But honestly, if the Blessed Mother appeared to me, and asked me to pray more, would I turn her down? No. Of course not. And I certainly do believe that she appeared to these three children, and there is nothing about her message that is weird or impossible to do. Her requests:

If you’re not Catholic, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about for the last three items. It could be that you don’t know about Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Mine looks like this one!this, even if you are Catholic. For more information on these requests, you might try a place called The World Apostolate of Fatima, U.S.A., which is a clearing house for all things Fatima. (There are many web sites about Fatima, from the orthodox to the nonsensical. I will not make any other recommendations.)

Six little requests. So easy to do! So why don’t I? Is it unrealistic? No. Too hard for ordinary people? No. Peculiar to the time and place? No. Am I just too lazy? Probably. And I feel guilty about that.

Fortunately, God is very merciful. He loves it when we brush ourselves off and try again. And so does His mother!

Visual Descriptionary

I ran across a really interesting blog article the other day, and thought it was so cool, I decided to duplicate it (sort of) here.

  1. At the end of this post is a list of questions. Type your answer to each of these in Flickr Search.
  2. From the results, using the first page only, choose an image.
  3. Copy+Paste the URLs of the chosen images in FD’s Mosaic Maker.
  4. Insert the resulting Mosaic in your blog post.
  5. Drop a link to it in the comments to this post

Here’s what I came up with (with the questions and answers following):


Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name? Cynthia
2. What is your favorite food? Right now? Chicken and noodles. (This is a hard one, because I like a lot of different foods.)
3. What high school did you go to? New Haven High School
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Johnny Depp (Sigh…)
6. Favorite drink? Milk
7. Dream vacation? Paris
8. Favorite dessert? Cherry cobbler.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grow up? What’s that?
10. What do you love most in life? My daughter.
11. One Word to describe you. Amazing!

Here are the links for the pictures: 1. Waiting for Cynthia, 2. Chicken Noodle Casserole, 3. New Haven High School, 4. Blue Morpho, 5. JOHNNY DEPP, 6. Milk, 7. [Opera House staircase, Paris, France] (LOC), 8. Cherry Cobbler serving, 9. Sprout is now growing up., 10. Waiting for the rain to pass – cycling with my daughter, 11. Black & White Amazing Landscape12. Not available

Everyone, on your mark, get set, and go. Go do this, it will be fun.

Here We Go Again…

invitacion de bodaI’ve playing piano and organ, and helping sing for a wedding tomorrow afternoon. Weddings are always a beautiful thing, when it comes right down to it, but I’m usually not that excited about the preparations. Brides are fussy creatures, by nature, and they naturally want things to turn out well on such a special day. They’ve got ideas about what they want, but they’re not always too savvy about the specific rules that govern Catholic weddings, even if they are Catholic, and woe betide the bride who isn’t Catholic, but is marrying a Catholic groom in a Catholic ceremony! I just have to shake my head and pray a little bit more.

Tomorrow’s wedding is even more interesting! Not only is a non-Catholic bride marrying a Catholic groom in a Catholic ceremony, but she is “Anglo” and he is Hispanic. So half of the wedding party doesn’t speak the language of the other half! Fortunately, it’s not a large wedding, and the couple is pretty easy going!

Maybe it’s not so bad living in a small town.

Mysterious, All Right

Because I said so!Not be be confused with a song by U2, there’s a hymn dating from 1774 by William Cowper, “God Moves in s Mysterious Way,” and I’m not sure if it’s possible to have penned a more accurate statement. I can’t figure God out, no matter how much time I spend thinking about it. Mysterious, indeed!

I know, I know… Why does He do this? That? The other thing? In the Book of Isaiah (Chapter 55, verses 8 and 9), we read: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Furthermore, in the Book of Job, Chapters 38-42 are one long rant to Job by God to Job detailing God’s omniscience and Job’s lack thereof. So, I’ve been hearing that all my life. But that doesn’t stop my thinking about it.

Of course, I’d rather have a God that I can’t figure out than one I can. “Oy vey, I wish God were more like Aunt Jean!” is something I can’t imagine saying. (Even if my Aunt Jean is more of what I imagine Jesus to be like than anyone else I know.) It’s a lot easier to deal with a God who is love, and the definition of all that is good and holy, and has our best interests at heart than one like, say, Zeus or Apollo.

I’m always reading a variety of things that run the gamut from romance novels to theology. (If that’s not running the gamut, I no longer understand the definition of that phrase.) I have lots of interests, spend time in nature, and know a great many people. Maybe I just spend more time pondering than other people do, but the littlest things will have me considering the workings of the Almighty.

Oh, I’m not talking about the old, routine, “Why does a good God permit evil?” question. The answer is right there. He permits it. That’s entirely different from liking it. He obviously didn’t create robots!

I’m more inclined to think things like, “God, what’s Your plan for me? Am I doing this life right? If I am, or even if I’m not, can You give me a sign?” Another thought is, “God, why do You not smite the wicked? I understand free will, but why wait until after their death to make them pay?” How about, “I’m a nice person, God, why do I have to suffer? I’m failing to see the larger picture here. I’m a little weak in the trust area about this.”

Miniature Inspiration

Dollhouse kitchen

Image by Skwishy via Flickr

Inspiration can come from the strangest places. I’ve always wanted to live in a palace, since, naturally, I’ve always wanted to be a princess. Or a queen. I don’t tend to dream small. At least, I didn’t then…

Obviously, joining a royal family wasn’t likely to happen. Then, when I was in fourth grade, my girlfriend Mary Dahm, brought her one inch to one foot scale dollhouse to school for show and tell, and I was smitten. Oh, I wanted a dollhouse like that. If a fourth grade girl can experience lust, I did. A palace! In miniature! And it could be mine after all! Oh, I pestered my parents. It was bad. But dad thought it was ridiculous. Mom didn’t say one way or the other. (Smart of her.) But it was not to be… I got as far as transforming one shelf of my bookcase into a dollhouse parlor of sorts, though it was a far cry from the electrically lit, wallpapered dollhouse of my dreams. My palace of petite-ness! Alas…

But I never really gave up on that. In fact, when Sophia was small, I started buying some more furniture and did another bookshelf house. But since it was obviously not a toy for tiny fingers, I did buy her a Fisher Price Dream Dollhouse (or “baby-house,” as we called it), with all the furniture we could cram in it. We did not do Barbie dolls, as I find them offensive. No doll lives better than we do. No doll has better clothes than we do, even if they’re clothes I wouldn’t be caught dead in.

That attitude trickled over to the miniatures, and I packed them away. It really didn’t seem right to spend money on a miniature silver tea set when we didn’t use one, let alone a Chippendale dining set or petit point sofa cushions. I quit lusting, even when I visited the Thorne Miniature Room at the Chicago Institute of Art. I enjoyed it, of course, but it was no longer an occasion for drooling. How can one not appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into such loving detail and with such attention to historical accuracy.

But I’ve found that my taste for small things has taken a different focus. I live in a very small apartment, although it’s nothing like the walk-in closet sized ones I hear go for absurd sums in Manhattan. For years I’ve lived in a sort of “well, I’m not going to even unpack all this stuff, because I’m on to bigger and better things” attitude. But, hey, I’m forty-six now, and I don’t think I’m going to get a palace any time soon. And I’m not even sure that I want one. I don’t really like the ostentatious life-styles of the rich and famous. I think I have more of a social conscience than that.

This is the most adorable house! It's called Sebastarosa.So, recently, while doing some reading in sustainability, I came across a company that may have just what I’m looking for. Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. They’re adorable very small houses that are amazingly well planned to utilize every available square foot. And I thought, “Hey, that’s about the size of my apartment!” And that made me think some more. What if I were to construct such a home for myself. How would I have to change my lifestyle and my attitudes about what I think is vital for my satisfaction, versus what I just like having around, verses what I keep because:

  • it has sentimental value,
  • it seems cool,
  • no one else appreciates it like I do,
  • I just like it; or
  • it sure might be handy someday!

This sea-change in attitude is making me look at my possessions in an entirely new light. Rather than the above criteria, I’m beginning to use a new set.

  • Has this brought me real satisfaction? In what sense? For how long?
  • Does it improve the quality of my life in any real, lasting sense?
  • Does it help me forge meaningful relationships with other people, or just isolate me, or give me an attitude of superiority?
  • Does it reflect my personal values, or do I keep it hoping someone else might approve?
  • If I only have “x” amount of room, where will I keep it? Could it be kept in a different manner? Can I easily borrow it or use it somewhere else?
  • If I were to downsize even more, would I still keep it?
  • Do I need this? I mean, really need it?
  • If I got rid of this, would I regret it for years?

These ideas are still forming, so they’re hardly set in stone, and I refuse to call them rules. I’ve begun to tackle my bedroom today, which is really a catch-all for all my hobbies, craft supplies, papers, a ton of books, and, of course, things that reflected all the attitudes of the first set of “reasons to keep stuff.” I even printed out these new “ideas” to help me focus. I’m curious to see how they work. I’ll keep you posted.