Friday, November 30, 2007

The Christmas Pageant

My husband and I had been happily married for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and
the oldest
was only four years old.

I learned never to ask God
for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella." I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding... when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children. While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close...I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in w rinkled clothes." My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing. I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama." Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived. My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur." The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life,I'll never hear the Christmas story with out thinking of gold, common sense and fur." "My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.


It is with gratitude that I thank Ron's cousin, Catherine, for sending me this in the form of an email. The author is anonymous to me at this time, but she has a wonderful way of putting into words the "Life and Times of Motherhood" in a simple yet moving manner.

I recall the time two of the boys, and I'm not sure which, and it's not important anyway, first served Mass TOGETHER. As always the Kellers were sitting in the front of the church so we have no idea how the rest of the congregation was reacting. I only know that I wanted to disappear, when neither boy could decide who was going to ring the bells at consecration. The bells were rung by BOTH as they fought for superiority. The problem was easily solved after Mass when they were instructed to decide before Mass who was to ring the bells. Our children are not only a constant source of joy, but also an endless cause for humility when our PRIDE gets in the way.


Peace, Joy, and Thanks be to God!!!


Copthorne Hotel, December, 2005

My reflection this morning was so relevant to me and the Church's "beginning" of this Holy Season that I just had to share it. Again from A Catholic Woman's Book of Days by Amy Welborn.

"Now when these things begin to take place,
stand up and raise your heads, because
your redemption is drawing near."
-Luke 21:28-

When I lived in Florida, Advent and Christmas always caught me by surprise. I did, indeed, own a calendar, but there's just something about palm trees, balmy skies, and wearing shorts that conspires against that particular holiday spirit.

I don't want to be caught by surprise this year, because even though the weather here is cold, plenty of other attractions conspire to distract me. so what will I do? I'll consider the gift that the Advent season can bring me: Four weeks to contemplate what the coming of Jesus means in my life. I'll try not to sleep through it. I'll try, as Jesus tells me, to stay awake to the possibilities that the present holds.
Loving God, help me find the space to prepare
myself for this holy season of Advent.

And so to this I say,
"Amen and Thanks be to God!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Angotti - Habitat For Humanity Clip

While on the move this morning I saw a preview of the the concert coming to St. John's with John Angotti. It is such a Great Cause. I hope all who can will support this effort.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Path of Waiting...

"The secret of waiting
is the faith of that the seed
has been planted,
that something
has begun."

Henri J. M. Nouwen, 1995

Advent is upon us and I have been reflecting on "waiting". My birthday falls in December. So waiting for me as a child was twofold. The anticipation of my birthday and then the excitement of Christmas. And when I was twelve years old the holiday was even more exciting while waiting for the birth of my youngest brother, Phil. (I secretly hoped he would be born on my birthday.) Well, even better, he was born on the 23rd so that when we came home from the Aunts where my sister, brother and I were staying, we had our own "Baby Jesus".

Then, twelve years later I gave birth to a most precious gift. Yes, I gave birth to my oldest son David, on my birthday. Needless to say I don't remember much about that day except that I had a wonderful baby boy with whom I could share the day. Anyone who has been pregnant really understands better than anyone the excitement and anxiety that accompanies all the other changes that go on in this nine months of Waiting, the advent of that birth.

That's how I see Advent. We are in prayerful anticipation of our continued rebirth as Christians. And that rebirth is in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior and his constant presence in our lives. Being reborn daily, growing in the fullness of his Light!!! We are in constant formation. Advent is a reminder. Yes, a season in which we are called again to look inward, make those changes so difficult to make, modify behavior. We are called to LOVE again and again. And why not? He loves us again and again.

Finally, Henri J. M. Nouwen says:

Waiting. . .is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is in her womb. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna were present to the moment. That is why they could hear the angel. They were alert, attentive to the voice that spoke to them and said, 'Don't be afraid. Something is happening to you. Pay attention.'


Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Feast of Corpus Christi

I was reminded this morning at Mass how it is that on this Glorious Day of Celebration many are not thinking about the Kingship of the Savior. Every year in the Church's liturgical calendar this feast officially ends the year and the following Sunday we observe the beginning of the Season of Advent, that season when we anticipate the celebration of Our Lord's birth. Why is it that we do not revel in the joy of this feast? Not only have we been saved by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we are also made co-heirs of the "kingdom" through Baptism.

St. John of the Cross writes...

The soul experiences in God as much gentleness and love as it does power and dominion and grandeur, for everything in God is one. The delight is strong; and the protection is powerful in gentleness and love, that the soul might endure the strong delight, and instead of fainting stand powerful and strong. If Ester fainted, it was because the king did not at first show himself to her favorably but as it says there, disclosed with burning eyes the furor of his heart (Est 15: 10). Yet she came to herself after he favored her, held out his scepter and touched her with it, and embraced her and told her that he was her brother and not to fear (Est 15: 11-12).

The soul no longer fears, since from henceforth the King of heaven acts in a friendly way toward it, as toward his brother and his equal. In revealing to it, in gentleness and not in furor, the might of his power and the love of his goodness, he communicates to it from his heart strength and love, going out to it from his throne, which is the soul itself, like the Bridegroom from his bridal chamber (Ps 18:6), where he was hidden and turned toward it, touching it with his scepter, and embracing it as a brother. There we find the royal garments and their fragrance, which are God's admirable virtues; there the splendor of God, which is charity; there is glittering of the precious stones of knowledge of the higher and lower substances; there the face of the Word, full of graces, which shines upon the queen, which is the soul, and clothes it in such a fashion that, transformed in these attributes of the heavenly King, it is aware of having become a queen. (Magnificat November, 2007)

And so, I think this should also be a day of grand celebration!!! But then I have always loved a party. Just knowing and understanding that like the "good thief" we too will be one day with the King in Paradise should be reason to dance, sing and praise the Lord...Party!

And in sincere gratitude I say, "Thanks be to God!!!"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Over the river and through the woods... Grandmother's house we go." Well, this year Grandma and Grandpa are the ones who travel. Last night we were served a glorious pre-Thanksgiving dinner with Laura, Roy, Kellie and Neil. And today we are off to Indianapolis for dinner with Marianne. Tomorrow we will be joined by Wes, Annie and the Girls for supper with Eric.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. And we do it in the presence of family and friends. Actually, everyday is thanksgiving day if we are saying grace at meals and thanking God for who we are and what we have either alone in prayer or in the assembly of others as we publicly give Him Praise and Thanksgiving.

So from the Keller house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!

And Thanks be to God!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My harp...

I sat down with my harp this afternoon in hopes I could spend some time in practicing in preparation for Christmas. It has been since Spring since I have "plucked" its stings and so it was in desperate need of a tuning. I fear that it has been so long that I have played ( and I use the word played loosely) that my fingers got sore after about 30 min. Needless to say there needs to be more time spent at the harp. I've only had the "Baby" for two years and I love to "play at" the harp. I am much more comfortable without an audience. I guess I am pretty insecure, I really don't like to embarrass myself when I am not prepared. My repertoire is limited too, because my harp has no levers and so I can only play songs in the key of C. Not to worry...One day when I have successfully achieved some skill at the harp I will invest in the levers. Until then I'll need to do some very diligent practicing. Christmas is a great incentive to practice...I do so love the music.

Thanks Be to God!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Concert

To Benefit Habitat for Humanity!!!

John Angotti will be here at St. John the Baptist Church December 14 to perform in concert to benefit the area's Habitat for Humanity. Habitat has been even more evident in our lives here since the tornado of November, 2005 destroyed so many homes. They have touched us with their diligence and generosity in housing those who are without homes or lost them as a result of that tornado. More important, Habitat also give us a perfect opportunity to do the work of God in participating in His beatitudes.

I would ask that you pray for the success of this concert. Better yet, if you can be here, come and give thanks, praise, and enjoy the gifts of our God in music!!! John Angotti is a dynamic performer and a zealous "worker in the vineyard".


Thanks be to God.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Duke and Duchess of Keller

The Duke and Duchess Of Keller

The reason for this entry was initiated by my grandson, Ben, who early this week sent me an email to tell me he liked Duke and Duchess. Some 14 years ago we got Duke. He is a timid usually quite dog unless he suspects someone is invading his domain. That means barking loudly if someone strolls past our house. And his throne is at the top the stairs where he can view his "vast" dukedom. ( you should really hear the two in concert at the arrival of guests!) Duchess is only two years old and is most energetic. These two are friends and companions, yet individually they are very different. Duke really is shy. He deliberately walks away and HIDES if he thinks he will get his picture taken. He will not look at anyone with a camera. Duchess, on the other hand, will even pose for pictures.

Duke has aways, unless he was treeing a squirrel when he was younger, been content to stay indoors. Duchess finds mole and rabbit hunting, or running laps (she can turn on a dime) preferable to the quiet life.

In either case, they fun to have around. Duchess can entertain herself by playing ball alone. It is comical and yet she does so enjoy it. Duke has not lost his knack of sitting quietly next to your chair at the kitchen table waiting for his leftover dinner treat, though he doesn't seem to find any fun in his running laps any more. It seems arthritis has become his other companion.

I guess I can see in these two friends how life changes and we can grow in who we are by what they have to teach us in their aging...Lord knows I can identify with the changes.


Thanks be to God!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Always I Am Guided by the Spirit

Photo by Elisa Mary Pamelia, 2006

Yesterday I read in the blog Poetry, Prayer, and Praise a wonderful prayer for the souls in purgatory by St. Gertrude. To my surprise, this morning I opened my book of meditation for Pope John Paul II to find this . Today is the feast of "St. Gertrude, the Theologian of the Sacred Heart" and so if you will allow I will send this to you for reflection.

I wish you abundant heavenly favors in your commitment to preparing yourselves for the tasks awaiting you in life and accomplishment of good. . .a propitious occasion for living the Christian life intensely and opening the doors of your hearts to Christ.

I would particularly remind you of the great German mystic St. Gertrude (1256-1301). . .and she has rightly been described as 'the theologian of the Sacred Heart.' It is important indeed to know the personalities and spiritualities of our saints so as to be able to imitate them in the life of grace and testimony and to call upon them at moments of bewilderment and of temptation.

As St. Gertrude often recommended. I exhort you also to have always total trust in Jesus, or Redeemer and Friend, so as to be good. . .and worthy of esteem, making yourselves and those who love you happy.

I impart my blessing to all from my heart.

16 November 1983 from Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II
And to this I say, "Thanks be to God."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cleaning house...

As I cleaned out some folders today I came upon one of my favorite analogies. And so I share it with you. Perhaps you've already ready it, perhaps not. Whatever the case it never hurts to have a little "guidance" along the way.


Thanks be to GOD!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Living the Mysteries

As I was listening to the Gospel reading at Mass this morning (Luke 20:27-38) I began to consider how the early Church Fathers would have approached the topic of the resurrection of our bodies as they taught the neophyte, the newly Baptized. When our Lord was, as Scott Hahn puts it, given the riddle of the seven brothers and childless widow Dr. Hahn says "...God's Law wasn't given to ensure the raising up of descendants to earthly fathers. The Law was given, as Jesus explains, to make us worthy to be 'children of God'--sons and daughters born of His Resurrection. "

The following is a sermon by St. Leo the Great called Pilgrims on Earth.

Introduction: St. Leo urges us to see heaven as our true home and to live here as if we were just passing through. These are the marching orders that mystagogy gives us. We are to live in the afterglow of the Ascension and in anticipation of Jesus' coming. We proclaim in every Mass: 'Christ will come again!' and He comes to us again, in every Mass!" (Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina)

And so, dearly beloved, let's rejoice with spiritual joy, and let's gladly give God the thanks He is due. Let us freely raise the eyes of our hearts to those heights where Christ is. Hearts that have heard the call to be lifted up must not be held down by earthly desires. Those who are made for things eternal must not be occupied with the things that perish. Those who have begun the way of truth must not become entangled in the snares of falsehood. The faithful must make their way through these temporal things, keeping in mind that they are pilgrims in the valley of the world; and, even though they find some attraction along the way, they must not sinfully embrace them. but bravely pass them by. . .

Let's resist this deadly evil and 'aim at charity' (see 1 Cor 14:1, CCD). . . By this path of love, Christ came down to us; by it, we too, may ascend to Him. And to Him, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Living the Mysteries
by Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina


And so it is that we, too, must travel the road of the neophyte. For which one of us can truly say, "I have nothing more to learn. I have all the insights. I need no more instruction." It certainly is not me. And now I see that my trek "home" is just as our Lord told the Sadducees. "They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise." (Luke 20:36)


Thanks be to God! Amen!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Traveler is Home

Do you member my remark about the neolithic-looking meteorites? Sure you do... Well, Ron's home from his great adventure and has brought home some beautiful works of celestial art.

I guess from what he tells me these are rare finds and the joy is seeing what is on the inside not what is on the outside. And the privilege of the first to see the handiwork is also awe-inspiring.

This meteorite, though not apparent in this photo has what is called "an inclusion" or void in the middle. This is a picture he took of the outer edge of it.


A "slice" of another meteorite has complex geometric designs. When etched and polished I am assured it will be an even grander work of art.

And whose art might that be? I think that is easy...I only have to go back to Genesis chapter one for that answer.
All glory and praise to God who makes all things.

Thanks be to God.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Are You Ready for This?

I have been ever so careful all week not to close the back door behind me when I took out the Duchess...This morning at 5:30 a.m., for some unknown reason, I closed that very door behind me. Imagine my surprise when we tried to go back into the house!! No, we were the only ones in the neighborhood up at that hour. Yes, I had on my heavy robe and slippers. No, there is no key under a stone by the back door ( but some kind of arrangements will be made now). I did not...I repeat, I did not panic, even though the garage door opener was in my locked car outside the garage. So, I decided Duchess and I would sit on the front step until we saw a light go on in a neighbors house. But salvation came in the guise of the paper delivery man. He had a cell phone and I was able to call the Ackerman house and Roy came to unlock the front door. Whew. They live 30 minutes away, it was 43 degrees outside, but I was able to sit on the step and watch the sunrise and say my morning prayers with much gratitude in my heart and relative comfort, for though it was chilly there was no wind...God is GOOD, all the time!!!

Ron will be home tomorrow from his "adventure" and I will be truly glad...I've had about all the excitement I can take for one week...
Thanks be to God!!!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Latin Is a Dead Language.

St. Mary-or-the-Wood College, Indiana

I had taken two years of Latin in high school and that was our favorite excuse when exams were returned and we hadn't done as well as we had anticipated. I have this wonderful book now, written by Archabbot Lambert Reilly, O.S.B of St. Meinrad, IN. It's called Latin Saying for Spiritual Growth. Let me share this with you, because I have found there is Life in words in whatever language they are spoken (or not spoken...anymore.)

Cor gaudens exhilarat factem

('A joyful heart light up the face')

St. Teresa of Avila says, "Deliver us from frowning saints!" This doesn't mean that we are to be Pollyannas, blind to the harsh realities of life; but it does mean that in our hearts we know that whatever happens, the Lord is dealing with us as we should be dealt with.

When we realize that whatever we are experiencing is something to help us along the road to eternal life, we can bear it, and we can bear it in hope. That inner hope then finds its way to our countenance, and we'll live the truth that Paul expresses in Romans when he says, "We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Romans 5:3-4).

The joy in our heart that we experience when we realize that the Lord loves us and would never leave us will reflect His light for all to see.


Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


~~~Sam, the Protector~~~

At about 3:30 this morning I was awaken by sounds made by Sam. At first I thought he had just gotten stuck under the bathroom sink again or leaped up onto the hamper and tried to sit in the window sill (but forgot the window was closed). Well, that wasn't it and I couldn't even find him so I went back to bed. Then I heard the noise again and so I got out of bed again and went to the kitchen thinking he had no water or he was "batting" about the feeder because he couldn't get the food to come down. Well, that wasn't it either. About ten minutes later into the bedroom he prances with something that "squeaked". OH, my GOODNESS. Sam had caught a mouse!! No bigger that a small Jalapeno pepper, he sat there on the floor in front of the closet preparing his meal. Then he did, yes he did, he began to eat it...Well, needless to say I had to leave the room. When I returned about 20 minutes later Sam passed me in the dark hall appearing to be quite content and proud of himself. As for me, I crawled back into the bed, pulled the covers up and went back to sleep with a strange feeling of security knowing now I didn't have to set out the "winter" traps.

Oddly enough, I had seen him bear his prize moles to us so we could see and praise him for a "job well done", but I never saw him devour them. But, as he proved this morning he is more that a pretty cat or "that lazy cat". He is a valuable member of the family. He keeps us safe from "little" rodents, this Mouser Extraordinaire.

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Trek of the Meteorite Apprentice

A Cluster of Meteorites

I thought as I posted this picture, it almost looks neolithic. They are not beautiful or glamorous to me, but to Ron, "the earthbound astronaut" they rank up there with bars of gold bullion.

Today he begins his quest to learn how to process them for sale. You see he wants to turn his love of space and its specimens-come-to-earth into an opportunity whereby retirement, when it comes, will not bring boredom. There is a gentleman in Syracuse, NY who has cut and etched meteorites for 25 years and Ron is going there to learn the process from the master. So the truck is loaded and ready to go, and just like a kid he can hardly wait to get started.

So it is that I wish the star gazer and meteorite lover a safe journey, patience, and a continued appreciation of the wonders of God's creation along with the prayers offered for a safe return.

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky to shed light upon the earth." And so it happened.
Genesis 1:14-15


Thanks be to God!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Immunization for the flu.

The other day a young father brought in his sons for their annual flu vaccinations. Both boys, followed by Dad, walked up to me. The three year old smiled and boldly proclaimed, "This shot isn't gonna hurt!" His six year old brother, on the other hand, said, "I cried in the van on the way here." When it came time to have the injection the three year old stepped up and sat on the table, but as I approached him with the shot he squealed and began to cry loudly until I had finished. The six year old, though, sat on the table and got his injection quietly, with just the glimmer of one small tear running down his cheek.

I was really touched by this experience! You see we have a lot to learn from our children. They are very much as we are. Some of us who are bold cover our fear with a facade of bravery, consternation, and assertiveness. Others of us, admit the fear, but work none-the-less as hard as we can to overcome the fear and move onward, even if it's with one glistening tear running down our cheek. A real lesson in humility!

And again in this journey of mine, children are my best and favorite teacher.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth...
Seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the Lord's anger.
Zeph 2:3


And I bet you all thought I was going to give you a "medical hint" for the day. Well, the truth is, it wouldn't hurt you to get a flu shot if you work in the service sector or have chronic medical conditions that diminish your ability to fight off the infection.

OH, both boys were sent home with 2 (not 1) but 2 suckers.

Thanks be to GOD!

Friday, November 02, 2007

All Souls Day

Today is the day we remember, as a people of God, those "who have gone before us with the sign of Peace". My reflection today came from A Catholic Woman's Book of Days by Amy Welborn.

But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here."
~Mark 16:6~

Today we remember, mourn and pray for the faithful departed. We're not the first to do this. A couple of thousand years ago, some women watched their friend and teacher die. They saw his lifeless body carried to a tomb and see the tomb sealed with a stone, separating them from their loved one forever.

Or so they thought until three days later when they found the tomb empty and heard these words: "do not be alarmed." The words came first from the angel, and then from the teacher himself--Jesus, no longer dead but alive. No longer gone but present. The call was clear: Be not afraid for death had been conquered and is no longer the end.

So today we remember, we mourn--because we are human-- and we pray. But we do so in hope no longer afraid.
Loving God, my the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.

And for this family of God I say,
Thanks be to God!