February 29, 2012

Chivalry... It's Not Dead Yet!

What is chivalry?  For the knights in shining armor of the Renaissance, it was the ability to act with courage, courtesy, and honor.  It was willingness coupled with readiness to help the weak, the poor, and the downtrodden.  What is it now, and where did it go???  After having the local library door slammed in my face a few times by  perfectly capable young men, and simply witnessing the vulgarity and crudeness of speech and action that is drowning most of today's society (by men and women alike), I almost began to despair that chivalry might already be lost.

... and then I look at my friends.  Wonderful, polite, beautiful young women and men, exuberant in their faith, who don't even think twice about holding a door for a lady, or helping a professor pick up some books he dropped in the parking lot, who offer to carry book bags and tote backpacks up and down flights of stairs for one another, and I think to myself, "Well, maybe chivalry isn't dead yet after all."

              I love you all.

...oh, and I do love that dress. ;)

[Photo via Confederate Colonel ]

February 25, 2012

My First iMovie Success!

Good afternoon, dear readers!

I know I don't usually blog on weekends, but today I just couldn't help myself.  I have completed a project with the help of a few dear friends, and I would love to share it with you if you are interested.  :)

As many of you know, my homeschool group is working on the production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth for this coming spring.  A few days ago, I decided to film a little "promo video" for our play.  I asked a few of the cast members to answer some questions (including myself), and the results were quite lovely.  I finished the video just today, and I must admit that I am extremely proud of my accomplishment.  The promo is posted below with the blooper reel under that.  I hope you enjoy them, and I welcome and encourage constructive criticism, so definitely feel free to leave a comment or two!

God bless!

~  Iris

Macbeth Promo # 1

Blooper Reel for Macbeth Promo # 1

February 24, 2012

Adventures at the Santorum HQ . . . and a challenge for my fellow young-uns

       Yesterday afternoon, me mother and I made the perilous trek from our small town to the Rick Santorum headquarters in Troy, nearly an hour away from where we live.  A friend and her children had intended to accompany us, but all became too occupied with other necessary responsibilities, so we ventured out alone.  
        When we arrived, we were welcomed into a pleasant, airy office that was neat as a pin.  (The dark green carpet didn't look like anyone had even walked on it!)  The 9,000 yard signs that I had come prepared to assemble were already finished, and leaning in organized stacks against the light greenish-tannish textured walls.  I was stationed at a telephone, which were all aligned perfectly on white fold-out tables to one side of the large room.  I was quite nervous at first, to be honest.  I had made several "get-out-the-vote" phone calls for a friend who was running for mayor in 2011 (he won, by the way :) but that was on a local level.  There were so many less buttons, too!  If you know anything about me, you probably know that I am downright horrible at any buttons other than computers and cameras.  (I sent my family to the third basement of a hospital once, because I pushed the wrong button...)  Here, there were a series of scripted questions to which each answer had its own special button, which led to more things to say and more buttons.  It was confusing at first, but after watching and listening to a more experienced volunteer a few times, the task seemed much less daunting.  I finally mustered the gumption to try it for myself, and found it more simple than I had imagined.  I caught on pretty quickly, and only accidentally hung up on two people!  All in all, I made a grand total of 578 phone calls in a little over five hours - granted, many were voicemail, so I didn't actually speak to those folks.
At my post. :)
        I had quite a few good discussions with the kind fellows who were willing (although I found myself deviating from the script quite often), and it was encouraging to see that the general response was a good one.
        It amazed me, though, how many people did not know what Santorum stood for.  One gentleman had never even heard his name!  Thankfully, he was open to my explanations of Santorum's values, and was whole-heartedly supportive of our campaign by the end of our conversation.  
        I think it just goes to show all of us how we need to educate both ourselves and our fellow citizens about something as simple as "who is running for president?".  

        So, my dear readers, I strongly encourage you to pay a good visit to Mr. Santorum's website, www.ricksantorum.com, even if you are not of voting age yet... We will be eventually, and the country will be in our hands.  We have to inform ourselves, and pass it on to others.  We can still carry a good conversation with those who will be voting come Primary, and November, and people respect intelligent and informed young people.

Take it as a personal challenge from yours truly. ;)

Have a blessed day.

~ Iris

February 22, 2012

"Remember, oh man..."

“...that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Heavy words.  We all hear them on Ash Wednesday, and to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t ever given them a serious thought until a few years ago, when I saw Mel Gibson’s blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ.  Of course, I have been a Catholic since I was two, and have observed the obligation of receiving ashes every year with my family, but if you had asked me why, I couldn’t have told you.
Well, I am no great theologian, but I thought I’d just say a few words about the feast we are celebrating today.
Call to mind Matthew 6:1-3.  It reads, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your father in heaven ... But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.”  So, why do we wear a dark smudge on our foreheads all day long?  We might as well have a T-shirt that says, “Look at me, I’m Catholic, and I’m fasting today!”
Here’s the thing ... Ashes, of course, are literally dirt.  The reason we wear them on our foreheads is to publicly recognize what life is reduced to when we lose sight of God.  He created us from the dust of the earth and breathed his Holy Spirit into our hearts ~ Without Him, we just dissolve back into dust (clay, dirt, whichever you prefer).
At times we all try to live our lives without God, and that’s where we make a mess of things.  (At least I know I do ~ If you don’t, I sincerely applaud you, and I beg you to PLEASE contact me and tell me HOW you do it.)  We do things without thinking to ask what it is He wants us to do, and we end up making ourselves miserable because we fail.  Without God, we are reduced to absolute nothingness, meaninglessness.
When we fill God’s space with other mumbo-jumbo, our lives become unmanageable.  We have to let Him rule our hearts like He so desires.  We have to give up the stuff that we continually try to shove into that “God-sized hole,” and realize that mere things will not (and simply cannot) fill that void.
But here’s the best part...  When life does become unmanageable, as it inevitably will, all we have to do is turn back and recognize that we need the Divine Physician, the Savior who loves to save.  He wants us to ask Him to reign in our hearts with the love and peace and joy that only He can give.  And he wants us to realize that the truly most important thing in this life is our relationship with Him, which can only be built by time and prayer.  He is always, always, always ready and waiting for us to come to Him.
Amen?  Amen.
Well, that’s my two cents for the day...  I hope you all have a blessed and grace filled Ash Wednesday.
(On a side note, I hope to limit my computer time during Lent, but I will have at least one post a week for you dear people.)
God bless!

[ Photo via News Gather ]

February 20, 2012

An Apology

Good Monday to you, dear readers!  I hope you all are happy and well.

This morning I must make an apology... I had promised through outside sources to share with you a story I began two summers ago.  Although I do fully intend to finish it in the near future, in the nearer future loom multiple term papers, which demand my more immediate attention.  Also, I loathe writing outlines, so I write un-chronologically, and the beginning of my story is not entirely done yet.  I believed I would have a good head start by today, but I was mistaken.  Between work, school, and a weekend drama rehearsal that was unbeknownst to me but knownst to everyone else until the morning of (literally, I forgot my shoes in my tornado-like rush out of the house, so I was stuck wearing my duct taped slippers all day long), the business of my life has skyrocketed and I simply will not have to time.

Someday, though, someday... I promise.

So I apologize for any disappointment I may have caused... (I'm sure you were all just quivering with anticipation... :p yeah right.)

Hope you have a lovely rest of your Monday.


February 16, 2012

A Tribute to a Dear Friend

"I shall not die of a cold.  I shall die of having lived."
~ Willa Cather

These words come to mind when I remember Norma Schmeeman, taken gently from this life just yesterday.  

      I only had the blessing of knowing her for a few short years, but during that precious time she became like a grandma to me, or the favorite aunt who is always welcoming you into her home.  The wonderful stories she would tell of her life with her husband, preceding her in death forty-three years, and their two adopted children made it seem to me like I was actually there, living right alongside them.  

Both being horse lovers, we got along quite well, as you could imagine.  Exchanging horse stories was a favorite pastime of ours. I would tell her some of mine, and she would respond with a litany of memories that grew longer every time.  She used to travel the United States and Canada showing her quarter horses, and became nationally renowned.  I used to walk through her house just looking at the elegant ribbons and numerous silver trophies from her wide range of victories.  Her husband was a lawyer, and she ran a quarter horse breeding farm behind their house.  She never forgot to tell me of her horse named Duke who loved to eat blueberry pie. 

      I remember one summer day, Norma mentioned to me that she missed seeing horses on her own property.  She had come out to the farm I worked at a few times, but she always that said it wasn't the same as having them at her house.  So my mom and I surprised her one day, and a friend helped me trailer a few horses over to her place.  As soon as she saw those horses out of her kitchen window, she was out on that back lawn, walker in hand, and it wasn't long before she was trying to convince us to help her up onto my horse!  Of course, we couldn't let her, because for one, we knew she wouldn't want to get off, and for two, 

it definitely would not have been safe for a 98 year old to ride a horse. :-)  I'll never forget the disappointment that clouded her face when we explained that to her. We compromised for it though, because we decided to take a hike through her back pasture to her son's house.  I would ride the horse, and my dad would push her in her wheelchair.  A bumpy ride, to be sure, but she had so much fun... laughing all the way...  With the dementia getting worse, there were few things she could remember well, but she never forgot that day.  

      Her 97 year old sister Myrilla would often come over and visit, and the two of them had such a wonderful time together.  They would tell us stories of how they were so different as youngsters.  Norma loved the country through and through, but Myrilla preferred the city life.  They went to the one roomed schoolhouse down the road from Norma's house, and they would relate how the cart pony would steal their lunches if they didn't hide them, or take them into the school with them.  
Norma could be quite the mischief maker when she was in the mood...  If I was standing close enough to her, she would slyly reach behind my knees and tickle them, and act as if she didn't do anything when I playfully interrogated her about it.  Myrilla told me that whenever her sister had to write a paper for school on a boring topic, she would write it completely backward, so that the teacher had to read it through a mirror!   

How would I describe Norma in one word?  I think "vibrant" would be a good one.  In everything she did, you could tell that she had so much heart.  Even at 99 years old with dementia, that spark was still there.  From doing her morning exercises to helping me cook dinner for her, she put everything she had into it, doing it to the best of her ability.  She was a great example to me, and she would push me to always work hard.  She used to tell me, "Do everything as well as you can, and if it doesn't work out, try it again.  If it still doesn't work, accept the disappointment of the thing and move on."

Norma was well loved by everyone she met, and she loved everyone she met.  I will be forever grateful that God allowed our paths to cross, and that I was given the opportunity to spend so much time and share so many wonderful memories with her.

I love you, Aunt Norma.
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February 15, 2012

Where's the Line to see Jesus?

Good morning, folks!

I know the Christmas season has been over for quite a while now, and Ash Wednesday is only a week away (can you believe that???), but I found this video on YouTube recently and it's beauty and truth caught my attention.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if people asked this question more often...

Where's the Line to See Jesus? - Becky Kelley

Have a beautiful day, and go with God.

~ Iris

February 13, 2012

Let's Reclaim "Valentine's Day"

      Good morning, my lovely people!

      I am still recuperating from a wonderful evening with friends, delicious food, and swing dancing (one of my personal favorites), so I do hope that my work is intelligible enough for you.

      On this the eve of "Valentine's Day,"  I'd like just to share a few thoughts, but first let me tell you a bit about the great man whose life (and death) we will celebrate tomorrow, St. Valentine.  

      Though much mystery surrounds the life of St. Valentine, it is held by tradition that he was born on April 16 (in an unknown year).  The first known biography of St. Valentine is found in the "Nuremberg Chronicles" (an illustrated Biblical paraphrase printed in 1493), which tells us that he resided in Rome while faithfully carrying out his priestly duties until he was captured by the soldiers of Emperor Claudius II, discovered while celebrating the marriage of a Christian couple.  He was stoned, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded and buried outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14th, in what tradition tells us, the year 269.
      A legend says that during his imprisonment, he healed the blindness of his jailer's daughter, and another relates that on the eve of his martyrdom, he penned a farewell note to the girl, concluding it "from your Valentine."  He is venerated as the patron saint of affianced (engaged) couples, bees, and happy marriages.
      So what exactly is "Valentine's Day?"  Is it a celebration of the true love described by St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (see the pink text below), or the celebration of a holy man who devoted his life to the service of his God and his Church, even in the face of death?  Or is it just another opportunity for the immature among us to "score" with the popular hot girl or guy, with piddly little cliche sayings and cutsie cards that have no meaning at all, or by indulging in their own selfish pleasures?  Unfortunately, to most of the modern culture, the latter is what Valentine's Day is about.
      True, human beings are made to love, there's no denying that fact, and we are indeed called to love as our Creator loves us.  But what is love?  It can be so hard to define!  Of all the definitions that I have heard, St. Thomas Aquinas has the best.  As is the case with many philosophers (at least in my own experience), it might sound dry and (I'll admit) sort of boring at first, but when you start to dig deeper and uncover the "meat" of the definition, you'll find that it is so very much NOT!  :)  Aquinas defines love (Caritas, charity, "luv," whatever you wish to call it) as "the effective willing of the good of the other."[1]  First, notice that Aquinas does not say that this love (which forms all human actions, either by its abundance or its lack, and which by its existence causes all virtues to actually be virtues) is an emotion, a feeling, or something that happens to us without our say-so (like being shot with an arrow by a pudgy little cherub).  Love is an action!  We love by our own choice!  It is the effective willing, something we personally and actively choose to do.  Recall the image of  Cupid,
one of the most common pictures on Valentine's Day cards.  Mind you,  there is nothing really wrong with that, but it is not the center of real love.  I've already said that love is something we choose to do, an act of the will.  Now, notice that the definition is centered on the person being loved.  What is the best for him or her?  Be careful not to confuse this with benevolence though, (a great virtue to be sure, but very different from love).  Benevolence would say, "Well, I hope that you achieve whatever you want and that it makes you happy."  Love, however, wants the very best for that person, and acts to make it real, effective, and powerful for him or her.  It looks at the long run,  and understands that while some things may be pleasurable for the time being, it really is not the best for that person in the long run.
      So what's my point?  My point is that today's culture has been corrupted so much that no where near enough people know what true love really is.  So let's reclaim Valentine's Day, shall we?  Let's start practicing this true love, so brilliantly explained to us by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Paul.  Let's share it with others, and demonstrate through our actions how true love can change the world!

"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

God bless you all, and Happy (early) Feast of St. Valentine!

~ Iris

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, paragraph 1776.

[Photo via Wikipedia]
[Photo via Artilim]

February 8, 2012


      As I don't have a post of my own prepared for you lovely readers, I'd like to share a beautiful short story  of how three broken hearts begin to find healing after being wearied and buffeted by the trials of this life.  God has such a wonderful way of putting just the right creatures together at just the right time.

Unchained by Kim Meeder

      Lost in their beauty, I gazed upon jagged white peaks holding up a lapis-colored sky.  The Cascade mountains always made me feel stronger for simply having looked at them.  Drawing a deep breath, the sweet sage fragrance of the high desert filled my senses.  
      My attention was jolted back into the coming day by sounds of the school bus turning the corner into our long drive-way and grinding its way up the hill toward the ranch.  The bus exhaled a seeming sigh of relief as the driver pulled on the emergency brake and the children bounded happily off the bus.  I watched their faces intently, looking for the telltale signs of a needy spirit.  Excited chatter rose all around as the kids began to take in the ranch.  Before welcoming the group, I quickly scanned the bus to make sure it was empty.  Surprisingly, it wasn't.
      Two boys were hanging in the very back, still seated, lazily pushing each other in a you-go-first manner.  "Oh, that's Chad and Mason," a young informant said with rolling eyes.
      Slowly they sauntered down the bus steps, taking their time, perfectly aware that I was waiting just for them.  When they finally emerged, I was saddened by what I saw.  Chad waited for Mason to step down and shoulder beside him.  For courage? I wondered.  Side by side, their posture screamed defiance as they crossed their arms over their small chests in a unified display of power.
      Slouching as if there weren't a bone in their bodies, they sized me up with a meant-to-be-heard snicker.  Both were dressed head to toe in baggy, black clothes.  Dog chains hung from their necks and wrists.  Chad had colored his fingernails with what looked like black permanent marker.  Mason's hair showed the evidence of a self-inflicted haircut and black dye job - various lengths and shades of brown into black hung straight down his face, purposefully covering his eyes like symbolic bars between him and the world.
      All the young teenagers were participants in an incentive program, run by a special group committed to helping kids who are failing in school - and life.  These were kids who, without intervention, would not make it.  This was the group that life would not wait long enough to understand.  Without help they would be left behind.
      For the most part they were a happy bunch, greeting me with high fives and silly handshakes as they spread out across the ranch's common area - all except Chad and Mason.  They jutted out their sharp chins at me in a silent voice that shouted, "You can't control me!"  The effect was diminished by the newly sprouted peach fuzz on their smooth young skin, but the message to the world was clear.  "I don't need you or anyone else!  Get out of my way!"
      But I saw something different.  My heart sank as I looked at the two hopelessly insecure boys.  They were so afraid of being rejected again that they pushed everyone away first.  If they could reject everyone, they pushed everyone, no one could reject them... ever again.  The costumes, the postures, their attitudes all screamed it.  Like a vicious dog that secretly wags its tail, they snarled, "Stay AWAY! Leave me ALONE!" But between the lines a good listener might hear their nearly inaudible whimpers, "Please, please, I don't want to be hurt anymore."
      Together the boys mocked me with disparaging looks and impatient sighs.  Mason relaxed his arms only to shove his hands defiantly into his baggy pockets, as if to say, "You can't make me!"  Then, for the first time, he leveled his eyes on mine and taunted, "Horses are so GAY!"
      It was a direct challenge to my authority.  He might as well have pushed my chest and said, "What're ya gonna do about that, lady?!"  He's checking his boundaries, I thought.  He wants me to push back.  He's testing his level of power against mine to find out who the boss will be.
      Lord, I need your help now! I prayed.  Wisdom is something I rarely possess.  I'm sure that by now, the good Lord is used to my SOS prayers.  This emergency flare went straight to heaven.
      Two weeks earlier a new mare had been brought to the ranch.  At twenty-three years old, she had still been in a so-called breeding program, but her low body weight, and the even lower standard of care she'd received, made carrying a foal to term impossible.
      In the darkness of a cold, quiet morning, her baby was lost.  No one knew and no one cared.  She was left to grieve alone for her stillborn infant, with nothing to comfort her but a blanket of stars overhead.  The grief of her loss was overwhelming, but made incomprehensibly worse by the fact that she was left to step over her tiny lifeless foal's body for nearly two months before the stench of it finally drove someone to drag it away.
      Now she was safe - but she was not well.
      I looked directly into my young challengers' eyes.  "I need your help," I said simply.  And I began to share with them about Elora, our devastated mare.  At first, the boys seemed unimpressed.  But suddenly the similarities between the horse and the boys came into sharp focus.  I decided to follow the list and tell the boys about... themselves.
      "She was left behind by the people who were supposed to love and care for her," I said, speaking slowly and deliberately.  "Her sense of trust has been destroyed, and she is struggling to overcome all the hurt that she has known.  She is so broken up inside that she even keeps herself away from other horses."  I paused, observing my tough, heavy-metal boys.  "She believes she is completely alone in this world.  What she doesn't understand is that the prison door is open.  She doesn't realize that there are many who are willing to love her back to life.  All she needs is someone to help her find the way out."
      All of the chained, icy black attitude began to melt into a pool somewhere below their feet.  The momentary inward glimpse revealed the broken hearts of two little boys.  The once-jutting lower jaws were now hanging in front of small sunken chests.  They turned slightly away from each other, hiding behind their downcast eyes - eyes that I could see were beginning to shine with tears.
      "She doesn't need a lot - just to feel loved again.  Can you help me do that?"  I asked.  Still looking away, they both nodded.
      Their instructions were simple - part of our basic rehabilitation plan for every horse we rescue.  Together we prepared a special pan of feed.  All I asked Chad and Mason to do was talk to her and stroke her as she ate.  When I led her out from behind the barn, they were already waiting, seated on top of the picnic table.  They looked so displaced, sitting in the pool of black that they had created.  Their baggy clothing looked less imposing than it had at first - more like a hiding place, a camouflaged shelter to flinch behind.  Their bulky chains clanked together in sharp contrast with the sound of the wind softly blowing through pine branches aver their heads.  Their combined heavy darkness was no match for the grassy lawn below, the endless rolling sky above, and the brilliant, laughing flowers around them.
      When they first saw her, their eyes grew large and soft.  Elora was a small horse, made even smaller by her diminished spirit.  She moved with her head and eyes in a lowered, downcast position.  She was the very picture of sorrow.  Her walk was made difficult by a limp from her right front leg.  From a previous unknown injury, her right knee was completely blown and permanently swollen to nearly twice its normal size.  She quietly began eating from their laps, the boys neither moved nor spoke.  I silently coiled Elora's lead rope and laid it on the table beside them.  Smiling softly, I backed away.
      Forty-five minutes later, the ranch was alive with the leaders, children, and horses.  Dust rose like a great halo over the arena.  Although days like these are a tremendous amount of work, the joy far outweighs the job.
      I started to make my way back to the boys.  Although Chad had gone on to other activities, through the rising dust I could see black-haired Mason alone with the mare.  I stopped.  He was gently holding each of her rounded cheeks as she rested her chin on his thighs.  His lips were moving and his face was very close to hers.  I watched him, over and over, repeat his loving cycle - tenderly leaning his forehead against Elora's and whispering, then pulling pack and kissing her face.
      The mare's eyes were nearly closed.  From where I stood, I watched as two hearts made their way toward the light of new found hope.  In my own heart I could hear chains falling to the ground.  The Prisoners were going free.  For a long while I silently watched before wiping my eyes and approaching them.  
      Mason rolled his head to look at me, his eyes warm and tender.  His cheek was resting between Elora's closed eyes.  He smiled.  My heart melted. I put my hand over my mouth and was thankful for sunglasses.  I'm sure he knew I was crying. 
      I climbed up onto the table and sat next to them and put my hand on Mason's back.  When I was able, I quietly said, "Look what you've done."
      He looked up at me.  The heavy-metal juvenile was gone.  In his place sat a young boy with unruly hair, dressed in black, loving a destitute horse.  "You showed her it's okay to trust again.  You showed her how to open the door."  I smiled at him.  "Mason, you did it."

Unchained, is an excerpt from Kim's book, Hope Rising, where she tells this and similar stories about the youth she has worked with, opening the doors of hope in their lives.

Kim Meeder, along with her ever-faithful and constant husband, Troy, own and operate Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a totally non-profit organization that pairs disadvantaged children with abused or neglected horses, providing both with a safe-haven from the world.

God bless you, Kim and Troy.

[ Photo via In The Moment With Adele ]

February 6, 2012

A Different Way to Attend Sunday Mass

      Good morning, dear readers!  I hope you all are well, and are recuperating from any late-night Super Bowl extravaganzas...  (I am beginning to feel the effects of sleep deprivation myself.)

      This morning, I'd like to share with you a unique world in which I was placed for a few hours yesterday morning, the world of American Sign Language.  I had been invited to attend Sunday Mass at a nearby parish by a family that mine used to know well, but on this particular Sunday, It was a celebration in an entirely different language, and focused toward an entirely different culture.  It was the Mass for the Deaf.  I'll admit, I was more than a little nervous.  I had not spoken to this family in quite a while because our paths rarely cross, and I didn't remember ever meeting their deaf daughter.  On top of this, I know next to no Sign Language (as of right now, anyway).  The warm welcome I received when I arrived at the Church surprised me, and it amazed me that although I could not communicate with these people through their own language, they still accepted me as one of their own.
      The interpreter stood to the right of the altar in the sanctuary with a podium, and as I participated in the Mass, my ears remained glued to the priest, and my eyes glued to the face and hands of the interpreter.  Her hands flew to and fro as her face expressed the message the celebrant was conveying to the people through her.
      After Mass, I spoke with the family and their interpreter while they translated our whole conversation to their daughter, who eagerly joined in.  I was introduced to a few of their friends, and a student working toward a degree in ASL.  Their same warm welcome continued the whole time I was with them, and I was invited to join them again next week, to which I sincerely look forward.  The grace and beauty of this language is almost breathtaking, and what a blessing it is to be immersed in such a culture. 

      As many of you know, I intend to pursue a career in American Sign Language, embarking on this journey from a local university.  What happened yesterday only renewed my fire to learn this wonderful language and to work within and for the deaf culture, the jewel on the crown of God's people.

God bless you all, and have a wonderful Monday!

~ Iris

[ Photo via University of Iowa ]

February 3, 2012

The Enchantment of Poetry

There is something about the graceful rhyme of an accomplished poet which brings people together in enjoyment and amazement... Who would have thought that a play rehearsal would morph into a poetry reading for those of us who were offstage and waiting for our cues?  We sat in a circle and I pulled out the old, yellow-paged book of Edgar A. Guest, The Path to Home, printed in 1919, and began to read to the eager young women and girls who encircled me.  Here is a favorite that I thought you might like:

The Lost Purse by Edgar A. Guest
I remember the excitement and the terrible alarm
That worried everybody when William broke his arm;
An' how frantic Pa and Ma got only jes' the other day
When they couldn't find the baby coz he'd up an' walked away;
But I'm sure there's no excitement that our house has ever shook
Like the times Ma can't remember where she's put her pocketbook.

When the laundry man is standin' at the door an' wants his pay
Ma hurries in to get it, an' the fun starts right away.
She hustles to the sideboard, coz she knows exactly where
She can put her hand right on it, but alas! it isn't there.
She tries the parlor table an' she goes upstairs to look,
An' once more she can't remember where she put her pocketbook.

She tells us that she had it just a half an hour ago,
An' now she cannot find it though she's hunted high and low;
She's searched the kitchen cupboard an' the bureau drawers upstairs,
An' it's not behind the sofa nor beneath the parlor chairs.
She makes us kids get busy searching every little nook,
An' this time says she's certain that she's lost her pocketbook.

She calls Pa at the office an' he laughs I guess, for then
She always mumbles something 'bout the heartlessness of men.
She calls to mind a peddler who came to the kitchen door,
An' she's certain from his whiskers an' the shabby clothes he wore
An' his dirty shirt an' collar that he must have been a crook,
An' she's positive that feller came and got her pocketbook.

But at last she allus finds it in some queer an' funny spot,
Where she'd put it in a hurry, an' had somehow clean forgot;
An' she heaves a sigh of gladness, an' she says, "Well, I declare,
I would take an oath this minute that I never put it there."
An' we're peaceable an' quiet till next time Ma goes to look
An' finds she can't remember where she put her pocketbook.

February 2, 2012

Hello All!

Welcome to the Country Girl's Daybook! :)

Well, this is my debut in the blogosphere, a facet of life with which I am almost entirely unfamiliar.  Here I will share my own random stories, experiences, and reflections on life with anyone who is interested.  I hope you stick around!

As a high school senior with a busy summer and her first semester of college looming before her in the near future, I hope to stay as consistent as possible.... but no guarantees. ;) 

God bless.