Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Why does every breach of trust
Hurt more than other kinds of pain?
Each betrayal wounds as deeply as the one
Which came before, opening old wounds again
While inflicting the new: so that even scars,
Once healed, regain their feeling and begin
To ache anew as they are torn asunder,
Ruptured by the cold steel blade of deceit.


Lampy: Are you sure this is the right way?

Radio: I'm as sure as I am honest.

Lampy: In that case, we're definitely lost.

--from The Brave Little Toaster

Good morning, good morning, gooooood morning!

Radio: Things could be worse, you know.

Lampy: How?

Radio: How what?

Lampy: How could they be worse?

Radio: They couldn't; I lied.

--from The Brave Little Toaster

Monday, March 30, 2009

Useful words of wisdom from Inigo...

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

"You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I'll stay. I will not be moved."

"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up..."

--from the completely quotable movie The Princess Bride

Sunday, March 29, 2009

from the Mass of Holy Thursday

"Nos autem gloriari opportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio per quem salvati et liberati sumus."

"But it behooves us to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; by Whom we are saved and delivered."

Saturday, March 28, 2009


"Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature has furnished them to the shame of art."

--Izaak Walton

This morning

When I looked out of the window,
there he was: the dearest little robin
looking up from the snow as if to say,
"Hello! You are safe and warm, but I, too,
am unharmed. For the hand which cares
for you guides me, too. Never fear! For
wherever we go He is near, watching
carefully. He loves us so!" And I left to
walk across the snow to His little church
to thank Him for this morning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Green again...

"A tree hath hope: if it be cut, it groweth green again, and the boughs thereof sprout."

-- Job 14, 7 from the Mass for the feast of St. John Damascene, March 27; his right hand, cut off, was miraculously restored.

The edge...

"Come to the edge."
"We can't, we are afraid."
"Come to the edge."
"We can't, we will fall."
And they came to the edge.
And He pushed them.
And they flew.


In the Houses of Healing...

Eowyn: The city has fallen silent. There is no warmth left in the sun.
Faramir: [Approaching her] It is only the damp of the first Spring rain.
[Eowyn looks up at him.]
Faramir: I do not believe this darkness will endure.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


When I look back through older eyes at the child that I was I see a rather fey creature. Fey, yes that's the word, one of my favorites but, since it has a number of meanings I should define it as it applied to me. The phrase from "Polly Wolly Doodle" comes to mind: "Fare thee well, my fairy fey." My dictionary reads as follows: fey--whimsical; strange; otherworldly: a strange child with a mysterious smile and a fey manner. I was all of that to others; to myself, well, I was just me.

Imaginative would not have begun to describe me. Maybe it was all of the fairy tales my mother read to me from my very early days, the ones I read to myself from age three. Yes, I could read when I was scarcely old enough to hold the book. And I soon discovered that to read was to enter another world, to sail to another shore, to fly through the air, or to pick a wildflower on top of a far-away hill. Reading was tailor-made for the fey.

And so I lived in castles with worn-out dancing slippers and spinning wheels and elves. Of course I was a princess, but I was a secret one: in disguise. I wasn't like the others in my family, so surely I must have been left on the doorstep by a fairy. No one really knew my true identity, or if anyone did I wasn't told, but it would be revealed one day. Certainly the handsome prince would recognize me when he finally found out where I was but that was years away. Until then, I would just have to live as everyone else did, in spite of my royal blood.

Then, when I was five years old, I happened upon the story of "The Princess and the Pea." A single pea placed under a stack of mattresses upon which the princess slept so bruised her delicate body that she was unable to sleep; of course, no one but a princess would have had the same reaction. That was it! The test of a true princess, and such a simple one! I knew what I must do. So I waited patiently for the eventful day when my mother would finally open that which I needed for the proof of my royalty: a can of peas. Well, of course I only needed a single pea and the only peas I had ever seen were in cans. I was aware that canned peas were soft and squishy things, but those qualities just made the test that much more challenging--and conclusive.

The fateful day arrived more quickly than I had expected. The can was opened in the afternoon; the test was to be that very night! As fortune would have it, I was easily able to procure a single pea without arousing anyone's interest. Since I only had one mattress, and a boxspring, of course, I determined to take my sister's mattress. She was only four and didn't understand my pressing need, so she went straight to my mother who informed me that I would have one mattress and no more. The trials of a princess can be so burdensome! Thwarted in that effort, I was inspired to stack pillows, every spare one I could find, on top of my mattress; since I was rather small, the desired effect would surely be achieved by this means. I read and waited for the sun to go down.

I kissed my parents goodnight quite early that night. I'm sure that it was a happy surprise for them to be able to trundle me off to bed just then so that, for once, they could enjoy a quiet evening alone. The precious pea had been placed by my own hands under the mattress on top of the box spring, and there were perhaps two feet of pillows towering above it all. Dressed in my most princess-like nightgown, I managed to climb up to the top of this arrangement and settle myself there. The test had begun!

Minutes seemed as hours, the night wore on , and I was wide awake, trying to determine whether I felt any bruises just yet; I didn't dare turn on the light to check because surely my parents would see it and would curtail my efforts. So the time passed, quite slowly at first, but then I closed my eyes for a moment--no longer, of course--and suddenly, it was morning! The sun was up, the test was over! Now, for the bruises. I looked very carefully but could find nary a one. I hadn't slept--well, not the whole night, any way--a positive sign, of course; but I had expected that I would be black and blue, and my skin was, unhappily, completely unmarked.

Then the thought occurred to me: maybe the pea had been dislodged in the night. That would explain the lack of bruises, of course. I carefully removed the layers of bedding and looked under the mattress. The pea was gone, leaving only a small green spot where it had been. I knew it! That explained everything! If only the pea had stayed in place, I would have shown the effects; but it had obviously rolled out some time in the night. There just hadn't been enough weight to hold it down; after all, I should have used more than one mattress as it had been done in the story. There was only one thing to be done: repeat the test, this time with a stack of mattresses. And I knew just the place: my grandparents' house. Surely my grandmother would help me. After all, she had given me a small crown not long before. Clearly she knew my true identity.

The sound of the telephone ringing in the distance disturbed my reverie. Some minutes later, my mother came into my room to tell me about the phone conversation. My grandmother had called to say that I had been chosen as a lady-in-waiting to the queen of a Mardi Gras ball. I was to go to the ball in a satin dress and to walk behind the queen's train as part of her court. My mother must have wondered at her fey child as I stood smiling with more than a bit of mirth in my eyes. There would be no need for the mattresses now. Here was proof-positive of my royalty, and a most wonderful one at that. I ran to my closet and found the little crown which my grandmother had given to me, placing it knowingly upon my head. It seemed the right thing to do since the secret was out, after all. Now, to practice my curtsying; a princess must be able to curtsy, of course. And the dancing slippers? Mine were quite worn, but I knew that my fairy godmother, I mean my grandmother, would buy a new pair for me just in time for the ball.

From an old letter...

"When the world gave him thorns,
she gave him a rose;
when the coldness made his salty cheeks dry,
she brought tears to his eyes.
The flower was a brief moment that dried;
the tears watered new roots,
a rose grew in his heart;
it blooms under her sunshine."

--from Braveheart

Heart and soul

"Hearts are drawn together by talking of their kindred pursuits, souls by speaking of heavenly things."

--from Gold Dust

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"The rod of Jesse hath blossomed; a virgin hath brought forth God and man: God hath given peace, reconciling the lowest with the highest in Himself. "

--Numbers 17. 8

To a phantom

What is there behind the mask?
I think I know; you've shown me
more than eyes can see, much more.
My heart cries out to yours; I know
that you can hear it. And the song
I long to sing for you echoes in
the distance that's between us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Orotava, Part I

Orotava. That was the name of the house, it's name serving as its address since it had no number assigned to it. Manor houses are never given numbers, you know, as they are much too far above such pedestrian things. I gasped in amazement the first time that I saw it, and many times thereafter, truth be told. The imposing stone structure was one of the best examples of Scottish baronial grandeur that one could hope to see, all four stories of it rising above the trees into the cloudy Lowlands sky; it was to be my new home. By some twist of fate, which is really the hand of God, of course, I was sent to this breathtakingly beautiful place which loftily loomed like an illustration from an English fairy tale book. I thought then how improbable it was to find myself there. Thinking back on it now, it seems even more unlikely a thing to have happened than it did at the time. But I am here to tell the tale, and so I shall.

So it was to Orotava that I came at age twenty, with all of the promise and hope of the future ahead of me. I was to be the nanny to an eight year old girl named Martha who, at home, went by the pet name of Mattie. She was a sweet-tempered but very active girl with a very rich imagination, and we became fast friends. She often referred to me in conversation as her nanny, though I preferred to think of myself as a governess: Jane Eyre journeying in Scotland, though Mr. Rochester was nowhere to be found. But one could always hope, couldn't one?

Mattie's parents were a happily-enough-married couple who happened to be a well-known "pop" musician and his wife. They were very easy-going and good-natured, and they made me feel as though I were part of the family. This was certainly not the typical treatment which nannies in novels received, of course, but was much more pleasant after all. The family dog, an enormous Saint Bernard who looked for all the world like Nana of Peter Pan fame, rounded out the household. As luck would have it, the dog and I had the same name, an unfortunate state of affairs which required the family members to call me "Kim, the lady" to differentiate me from "Kim, the dog." A decidedly unromantic detail, I know, but it must be told for the sake of completeness.

Imagine that!

"It's not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting "ideas," and "thinking"...

--Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast


I can be.
I would agree.
That's me!

Sing joyfully!

"Sing joyfully to God all the earth, serve ye the Lord with gladness: come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: for the Lord, He is God."

--Psalm 99, v. 1, 2

Monday, March 23, 2009

To sing's the thing...

I remember it well. I was seven years old the first time I sang before a group of music critics, a very tough bunch which consisted of my two younger sisters and our best friends. The performance took place in our living room; at least that's where I stood. Since our home lacked a stage, my audience humored me and listened from the dining room nearby. My debut! Such an important event, but what to sing? My repertoire was quite extensive, consisting mainly of songs from musicals, but I wanted to make just the right impression with a particularly dramatic piece. And I knew just the one: the romantic "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" from the equally romantic movie of the same name.

I had seen snippets of the film late one night when my parents were watching it on television; I should have been asleep in my room, but the haunting strains of the melody called to me. Not long after that, I discovered a 45 in my parents' collection with the title song, and I quickly memorized it. Over and over again, I sang it in front of the long mirror in my room so that I could be sure that my facial expressions conveyed all the emotion of the lyrics. It was quite a project, this self-directed musical theater, the perfect outlet for my dramatic inclinations.

So it was with this song-- the one I had practiced so many times in my best imitation of a coloratura soprano at the Met--that I would delight the assembled crowd of five. I was ready. This was it: the moment when the world, or at least a representative sampling of it, would gasp in amazement at "the voice". I opened my mouth and sang the first line. Before I could begin the second, the sound of hysterical laughter and snickering filled my ears. This wasn't the way it was supposed to happen. I continued singing; the laughter grew louder and the sound of running feet accompanied it. Before I could sing another note, the die was cast: the unappreciative audience stared at me between guffaws, and I quickly exited stage--uh, living room-- left. The discordant laughter continued for another several minutes until, mercifully, I heard the front door slam and the house was quiet.

Dejectedly, I sat on my bed and relived the entire performance, all thirty seconds of it. There was only one conclusion to be made; the fault was mine. I had chosen an uncultured and uncouth audience, and I would not make that mistake again. Only aficianados of good music would be invited for my second concert. I had no idea where to find such a group, but I promised myself that, next time, I would only sing for those who were polished enough to know good singing when they heard it. Now, how to get to Carnegie Hall? :-)

Secret admirer

He follows me wherever I go,
from a distance so I'm never
really sure that he is there.
Is he afraid to show his feelings?
Does he care? Is he shy?
He's like a spy who's several
steps behind me, undercover.
I wonder, as he hides
behind his wall,
if he knows that
I can see him after all.

Following Christ...

"Behold, our King marches before us, who will fight for us. Let us follow Him manfully, let no one fear terrors; let us be ready to die valiantly in battle; nor let us bring disgrace upon our glory by fleeing from the cross."

--from The Following of Christ

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pas de deux

"Come closer", you say
as I run away from your touch,
wanting so much to stay.
This dance is very strange;
you seem to change,
you seem the same.
The music plays on,
and I am drawn back
to you.
Suddenly, I don't know
the steps at all.
I'm afraid to fall;
will you catch me
if I do?

Your song

I can't forget it--your song.
Over and over again,
in my mind, I hear it.
It's as fresh and as new
as the first time
you sang it to me,
when you were near enough
to hear me singing with you.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Scarlett: Atlanta.
Mammy: Savannah would be better for ya. You just get in trouble in Atlanta.
Scarlett: What trouble are you talking about?
Mammy: You know what trouble I's talkin' 'bout. Mr. Ashley be comin' to Atlanta when he gets his leave, and you sattin' there waitin' for him, just like a spider.
Scarlett: You pack my things like mother said.


"To those who cry out against romance I would say--you are romance. You are the lost prince herding obscurely among the swine. The romance of your spirit is the most wonderful of stories."

--A.E. in The Candle of Vision

Thursday, March 19, 2009


There are times when
a sigh can convey more
than all of the words
in the world can say.
It's that way

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


As I can hear the ocean sound
in the shell held to my ear, so,
in my mind, I hear your voice.
The joyous notes resound
in memory, though in reality
it's been some time
since I've felt the caress,
the tenderness
of your voice.

Saint Patrick's breastplate

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.

--Saint Patrick (Today, March 17th, is his feast day.)

Little cottage

A little cottage in the wood
would be good.
A tiny place
would be nice,
a bit of paradise on earth;
and of more worth to me
than a grander home
could ever be.
How happily I would live
in such a little nest!
For, to my mind,
the home which is small
is best of all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More beautiful...

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach; one can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are only a few."

--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So you walk...

"How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there, and the hills and the sky? Anyone knows they are. How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the day and the season instead of the hour and the minute? No, you cannot explain. So you walk."

--Author unknown, from New York Times editorial, "The Walk", 25 October 1967


"Walks. The body advances while the mind flutters around it like a bird."

--Jules Renard


"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk."

--Raymond Inmon

One reason I walk...

"Solvitur ambulando." ("It is solved by walking.")

--Saint Jerome

Friday, March 13, 2009


"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."

--from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi


"When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility."

--from James M. Barrie's The Little Minister


"Mystery and disappointment are not absolutely indispensable to the growth of love, but they are, very often, its powerful auxiliaries."

--from Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take your time...

"With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes satin. With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes silk."

--Chinese proverb


It was a harder day's journey than yesterday's, for there were long and weary hills to climb; and in journeys, as in life, it is a great deal easier to go down hill than up. However, they kept on, with unabated perseverance, and the hill has not yet lifted its face to heaven that perseverance will not gain the summit of at last.

--from Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby

Begin anew...

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew."

--Saint Francis de Sales


"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."

--Charles Dickens

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring fever

"It's Spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - 0h, you don't know quite what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

--Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


"Those who wish to sing always find a song."

Waking dream

"Hope is the dream of a soul awake."

--French proverb

Monday, March 9, 2009


"If nature has made you a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart. And though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that."

--Frances Hodgson Burnett


"There are people whom one loves immediately and forever. Even to know that they are alive in the world with one is enough."

--Nancy Spain

Some of us have never stopped...

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

--C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 6, 2009


The gentle rain begins to fall,
And nature comes to life again.
Winter retreats,
its frigid days a distant memory,
as it makes way
for Spring.

Friend indeed

"He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If you wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus in every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part."

--Richard Barnfield

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The simple life

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in Spring--these are some of the rewards of the simple life."

--John Burroughs

Many mansions...

A million-dollar mansion could never be home.
I would never be at ease in such a place.
And yet, it was nearly my fate to be
in such an empty space as that.
What a grace it is to have escaped it!
For a prison with golden bars and marble walls
is still a prison after all.

Happy birthday, Margaret

"Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Margaret,
Happy birthday to you."

Happy 18th birthday! May God shower you with graces today and always.

In Christ,


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


God wants me: To be in the world, not of the world.
To love Him first and best.
To want what He wants more than what I want.
To be different.
And in return He will give me Himself
For Eternity.

So little to ask for so much.

A favorite character

There are so many excellent female characters in literature, and I've always found it very hard to choose a favorite. Through the years, however, one Dickens heroine has become dearer to me--Agnes Wickfield of David Copperfield. Though I have always been drawn to her, I can now better appreciate her patience, her loyalty, and, above all, her desire to sacrifice herself for her loved ones for the love of God. Agnes quietly does her duty, happily and joyfully. She never complains, and she always tries to see the best in everyone, though she is no fool. Her devotion to David is a most beautiful example of true friendship, a friendship which never wavers because she wants only what is best for him; and she proves this by her actions as well as her words. All the while she is learning, too.

Just recently I have begun to see the parallels between these characters and my beloved Dante and Beatrice. Agnes is Beatrice to David's Dante; she guides him ever higher and closer to heaven over a long and often difficult path. She counsels him when she sees him straying from the right road and, though he doesn't always listen to her, she remains steadfast in her faithfulness to him. Only after many trials have befallen him does David begin to see Agnes for who she really is.

David Copperfield ends with David's beautiful words to Agnes, which are reminiscent of Dante's words to Beatrice at the end of Vita Nuova. David says:

Oh Agnes, Oh my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!"

Upward to God. That is where both Beatrice and Agnes lead the ones they love, always lifting them higher. I pray that I will always do the same for those I love. May God grant my request.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


"I want to see you", you say.
But you are much too far away
for that; so the mystery proceeds.
"Take away the veil, and let me see."
But time and place do not agree
to show you everything
you want to know about me.
And I am not convinced
that all of this is real.
So I conceal what I can,
and reveal as little as I should,
still far less than I could.


"Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see."

--William Newton Clarke


"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark."

--Rabindranath Tagore


"Uncertainty is the refuge of hope."

--Henri Frederic Amiel

Monday, March 2, 2009


"One may go a long way after one is tired."

--French proverb


"Saints are sinners who kept on going."

--Robert Louis Stevenson


"If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

--Anne Bradstreet

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Brave and patient

"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."

--Helen Keller


He is so very forward!
And this has set him
so very far backward
in my esteem.

Under the protection of ... God

"He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield; thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the day, of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear the up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone..."

--from Psalm 90

The tempter... and the Angels

"Again the devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan! for it is written: The Lord thy God thou shalt adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him."

--The Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 4