#Judy

Family Meals

My late in-laws retired to the Jersey Shore. When my children were small we’d pack the car up Friday and head there to spend the weekend. My father-in-law was a chef and it was fine dining at every meal. He had a commercial grill outside would cook anything from eggs in the morning to lobster at night. My sisters-in-law and mother-in-law did all the rest, but somehow they rarely finished their prep at the same time he finished cooking. “Pop” would sit at the head of the table and say “Can’t we all just sit down together and eat!?” That’s become a joke whenever we are eating a family meal. From a different perspective, I think how we are called to the table every week at Sunday Mass and given the opportunity to have a “family” meal as Jesus did with his disciples…and there we are all together at the same time, in the miracle of the Eucharist!

by JAM

 

Beach Love

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the beach. When I was a teenager growing up in NYC I became part of a group whose families had small beach houses on the south shore of Long Island and I was always invited for overnights and weekends. I could never get enough of being there and always promised myself that someday I would live near the ocean. I loved to watch the sun rise and would spend hours walking close to the water and playing tag with the waves. It always seemed more important to me to enjoy that great gift of sea and salt air than to spend time being frivolous and flirty. Even though then  I didn’t have the depth of faith I have since developed I still knew and appreciated God’s gift of the sea. Many years later, He helped me fulfill that promise to myself of living near the ocean.

by JAM

Family Adventure

When I was a little girl living in Queens, New York,  it was always a really big deal to be taken to Rockaway to see the 4th of July fireworks. We didn’t do a lot of that kind of thing, largely because Dad worked two jobs.  What made it even more special was that he would sit in traffic (which he hated with a passion) to get Mom, my sister and me somewhere we could see spectacular fireworks even though he only had a couple of hours sleep. We were just so amazed at the colors bursting in the sky. One of the things I remember most vividly is the “finale” which was always a huge pyrotechnic American flag. Even though I was only a child, I understood how lucky I was to live with the freedom that I enjoy. Sixty something years later, I am still grateful to God for placing me in this incredible land.

by JAM

The Gift of Laughter

I have a bucket list, but mine has some things that are really “out there.” One “item” involved doing stand-up comedy. People always told me that I am the funniest person they have ever met, so I decided to test that theory with people who don’t know me. I spent six weeks in class, writing material with other newbies, laughing a lot! On graduation night when I hit the stage and saw the SRO audience I just froze. I sent up a prayer to St. Lawrence, (I’d researched and found out that he is the patron saint of comics), took a deep breath and launched into my monologue. Lo and behold, my first few lines were met with laughter and even a smattering of applause.  Later on I realized that what had really happened is that I had found yet another true gift from God that I could share…the ability to make people laugh.

by JAM

Holy Driving

Ever since I got my license I have loved to drive. I’ve made two solo cross-country trips and I frequently look at the photos I took on my travels. The last trip I made, last summer, I took the northern route. I’d never been to Colorado, other than a layover at the Denver airport. It took me almost a full day to make it from border to border, not because of traffic, but because I felt compelled to stop at every scenic overlook and marvel at God’s creation. The Rocky Mountains, over which I’ve flown probably a hundred times, look a whole lot different from the ground. The forests were especially lush because of the wet winter and in some places I would just breathe in the clean mountain air. At every day’s end, when I said my evening prayers, I always included a special thank you to the Lord for having blessed us with so much beauty.

by JAM

Culinary Creativity

Cooking is a passion of mine. Since I am not all that good with pencils and paints, I find putting together some sweet or savory concoction fulfills my need to be creative. I laugh as I look back on how this all began. As a teenager, I was sometimes left to fend for myself for meals and I always seized on the opportunity to make up something with whatever was in the pantry and the fridge. At times it was even edible! As I’ve matured, fortunately so have my culinary abilities. I find I am happiest when I am in the kitchen putting together something special for a visit from friends and/or family. It gives me great joy to have people I love sit at the table with me and enjoy what I’ve made for them. It makes me think how much God must enjoy seeing his children enjoying what He has “put together” for us in this life!

by JAM

Take a Hike

I have always loved to hike. God has blessed this area with many scenic trails, each in a beautiful setting offering spectacular views. One of my favorite trails is right here in Dana Point, through the headlands. It winds its way through some wonderful wildflower fields, which are especially beautiful this year after the spring rain. As you work your way down and then back up the other side, more and more of the coastline comes into view. About midway on this trail is a bench on a promontory. I’ve sat there and watched whales play in the surf off the coast and when the wind is blowing onshore you can hear the seals barking as they sun themselves on the red buoy you can see from there. No traffic sounds seem to carry there and except for nature’s noise, it is especially quiet. If you sit very still I do believe you can hear God talking to you.

by JAM

Gratitude

It’s Memorial Day. My Dad, now 97, is a WWII veteran and until recently never spoke about his war experiences. All I knew about his service was that he left Pearl Harbor on December 5th and was assigned to the fleet in the South Pacific. My mother and he were married mid-war and my Mom often told me how she prayed novena after novena and rosary after rosary that my Dad would return home safely to her. Her prayers were (obviously!) answered and she also told me of her overwhelming joy that he came home to her, which was only surpassed by her gratitude to God for allowing his return. I have had only a taste of that kind of happiness in homecomings with family, but I do hope and pray that I will experience that same joy at my final “homecoming” when I return to God.

by JAM