A Winter’s Tale: Mandeville, Louisiana

red berriesI walk with my dog nearly every day. We often head for a sparsely occupied business park that neighbors wooded areas. The weather has been unusually warm, so we see lots of color, some in-season and some out-of season. Yesterday, I was able to enjoy nature as my dog ran about among the empty fields and under-used buildings. There really is no dramatic tale for me to write, as nature itself provided the material. Feel free to interpret or insert your own dialogue. I concluded with another’s thoughts on the beauty around us.

azaleas

rain results

rose

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? St. Augustine. 

This post is linked to Sundays in My City, whose host is Unknown Mami.

A Purpose-Driven Blog

giphy (1)I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, special prayers wishes, or hopes. This year,  I may join the New Year something-or-other movement. It just feels right.

For 2015, I have been like the boy in the gif image. Just doing a lot of nothing that seemed to look like something. I haven’t been earning a living in a meaningful way.  My present and the immediate future look pretty much the same – unfocused and unproductive.

I read that  Compassion, the Christian charity organization,  chose Measure as their word – the way that God measures things – in abundance and never-ending as his goodness and giving is and always has been. Alice Ronzino at A Life Overseas has chosen the word, Wholehearted. Good choice, and by the way, a well-written tale of 2015 and beyond.

The blog could benefit from new direction, too. I like writing about myself because, well, I like myself. Writing about myself is the laziest way to write, too, I think.

But what about writing about my heritage? I love some of the stories I hear about my ancestors. Maybe I should write them down?  Or, what about stories about People in the Margins? I love to seek out the unknown, unseen peoples in every room, crowd, or situation. No one cares about their story, but most of those folks have more interesting tales than the richer, talented, successful people.

What see ye? Where do I go? And yes, I am considering renting this little house in Louisiana in order to satisfy more of my wanderlust. More on that another time, maybe.  For now, I am focusing on Purpose.

 

No periods needed

bernie2

I recently read texting is viewed favorably if periods are not used. Readers who receive phone texts with periods tend to perceive the messages as unfriendly. Texts without periods are considered sincere. Of course, we haven’t said goodbye to the exclamation point, individually (!) or in multiplied groupings (!!!) to show enthusiasm. And we can’t forget the startling use of multiple periods used to suggest an ellipsis. . .

The rest of this post will contain no periods  I do want to be sincere as possible  Of course there is another reason to cease with the antiquated period  It’s been several months that I am living without periods, ahem, the other type of period, that is . . .

A few weeks ago I was startled by this lack of punctuality  Glee soon followed!!!  I have borne this punctual reminder of hormones for over 40 years

Hormones are nothing to be taken lightly  I was painfully self-conscious to be known as the second-youngest in my fifth grade class to achieve this rank  I demanded my mother allow me to stay home during those dreaded cycles  She was sympathetic for a few months until the school secretary caught on and refused to allow the excused absences…

Those days are gone   Now I am free and I plan on living as such

I can drive a tiny red car whilst escorting a mammoth-sized dog wherever and whenever I choose   I can take long swims in the lake and after sun-bathe on a white towel with complete aplomb  I can go out and about without a purse without you-know-what inside   In fact, I can toss the purse aside and travel lightly again as I did before you-know-what happened

And to the shock of locals and those abroad I can choose to follow whatever political figures I like even left-leaning old guys with frumpy hair  I do live in one of the most conservative districts in a most conservatibernie2ve state   I fear that my Baptist neighbors don’t approve of the decal that is slapped on the Hyundai

Who cares?

Life without periods will be a great adventure

Shine

tiny red lightsWe’ve had weeks of rain. Some days, torrential, and others light but steady. Grey and darkening skies have become a constant this December in Louisiana. While on a nature walk, I had time for one or two pictures before a downpour chased me away. This one tree with lights drew my attention.

On my way home after the walk, I noted some homes in my neighborhood passed the season with lights and decorations surrounding their homes. I enjoyed seeing each neighbor’s display as they interpreted the season. A few homes on the street are very dark, without decorations, lights, or even a lamp inside on in the evening. I am curious about those sitting in darkness in such times of dark weather as well as news daily of violence, terrorism and such.

My prayer for those in physical or spiritual darkness this season has often centered on this verse that was used to prophesy the coming of Jesus.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  Isaiah 9:2

Jesus is the light of my life. Without him, the darkness would not be just on the outside, but inside me as well. I hope and pray we all embrace the Light of the World this season. He is the Light of the World.

 

A White Christmas (Mandeville, Louisiana)

Home on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain: foggy, lighted, and ethereal.

As is much of North America, a preternatural warmth has settled over Louisiana. One natural result is fog. On Christmas Eve,  fog shrouded the shores of the largest lake in Louisiana, Lake Pontchartrain, making everything a bit other-worldly.

Mandeville, Louisiana, was once a favored site for wealthy New Orleanians needing a break from the squalid city. Even the poor sought solace on the northern shores away from the city fleeing the summer scourges of the city. New Orleans often stood nearly empty in summer, as countless residents fled epidemics that took the lives of city dwellers before science chased away the plagues caused by mosquitoes breeding in fetid waters.

The cool lake breezes and the wooded landscape appealed to those seeking to ease body and mind. Ferry boats brought passengers for day trips, week- long excursions, or for the wealthy, season-long reprieve. When the mosquitoes had finished the work of death in the busy city, families returned to New Orleans to continue on with their lives.

rest a while 2
A restoration is underway for Rest A While, a historic retreat.
rest a while sign
The foggy weather causes Rest A While, a famous inn from the 1880s to appear ghostly and mysterious.
tree with lights
A view of the lake from the grounds of the big houses. The lake has disappeared in a shroud of fog.
tree
The fog began to break as rain rolled in on Christmas Eve. The bridge connecting Mandeville to New Orleans is in the foreground.

If you are in need of rest for  body and mind, I can hardly recommend Mandeville. To the dismay of old-timers here, most of the natural landscape has given way to strip malls, gated communities and big box retailers. A few swaths of the past remain, such as this walk near the lake in  old Mandeville.

SIMCThis post is linked to Sundays in City, a meme hosted by Unknown Mami.

Happy Festivus

14 ben and jerrys festivus

Kvetching, complaining, the airing of grievances makes Festivus the great American holiday that precedes Christmas. It first came to life in the comedy series, Seinfeld, in December, 1997. One of the characters, George Costanza revealed that his family had their own holiday, Festivus, generally celebrated on December 23.

Festivus also features feats of strength and the display of the bare aluminum pole, but I am choosing to focus on the airing of grievances on this blessed day before Christmas. Tomorrow, who knows? I might focus on blessings.

Here are a few of my grievances!

  • The weather is crazy this winter in much of the US. The weather seems angry, hot and ill-tempered. Why it’s the same temperature today in New York City as it was on July 4 of this year. WEIRD.
  • I can’t find decent tamales in my neck of the woods.  Having moved back to Louisiana, in the piney woods,  there is a serious lack of diversity. Not too many Latinas are across the lake from  New Orleans. WEIRD.
  • It’s quiet. It’s Christmas Eve. Therefore, the air is supposed to be filled with the sound of cheap fireworks. Oh yeah, see above. Louisiana, not Honduras. WEIRD.
  • Letters are delivered daily to my home.  EVERY DAY! In Honduras, I got mail delivered three times in ten years. WEIRD!
  • Blue Bell Ice Cream is on the shelves again after disappearing for almost a year. In this part of the US, we love Blue Bell which disappeared for months due to poisoning people with listeria in early 2015. Who cares? We want our ice cream! WEIRD!
  • Ben & 14 ben and jerrys festivusJerry’s is not planning to reprise Festivus Ice Cream. That’s just wrong. It Blue Bell had not returned, I would be even more aggrieved at the loss of Festivus Ice Cream. WEIRD!

I know this is an odd post. However, Festivus is an odd celebration. If you don’t believe me, check out the website, A Festivus for the Rest of Us. 

Feel free to fill the comment sections with your grievances, or, if you MUST, send greetings, blessings and the like. Happy Festivus!