Musings of the Library Lady and Her Daughters

Queen Leora and her daughters Princess Bernie, Henny Penny Jenny (and others joining soon) impart knowledge, advice, hopes and dreams to all who gather and read.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Louisiana Build

It's been too long since posting a topic, and wanted to give the rundown of my latest Hurricane Relief build in Louisiana.

Ten days in Baton Rouge at the end of May/first of June was a huge blessing in spite of the heat. Our group was responsible for building two homes from foundation to landscaping in 8 days. And we did it! We did everything that was asked. Louise, the owner of one of the homes, had a harrowing story to tell of escaping from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Truly amazing experience, and this steel magnolia will always be a hero to me.

I will always treasure my latest experience helping with hurricane relief.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Back to Louisiana


Heading back to Louisiana the end of May. Will be participating in a blitz build. We are building 14 homes in 7 days - from foundation all the way to landscaping. We are supposed to be beating the heat! I hope so.

I'll travel with 29 other volunteers and it's going to be fantastic! Looking forward to being exhausted.

Here's a picture from last November when I was in Covington, Louisiana doing hurricane relief work. We rebuilt a home from the subfloor up that had been destroyed when 6 huge trees fell on it. The owner planted a shamrock under the house. Do you blame her?

Smiles


Can't believe it's been weeks since posting. My goodness. So I thought I'd list some things that make me smile. I hope they do the same for you.

My four-legged children shown here.
My two-legged sons.
Getting a gift from my secret pal.
Giving a gift to my secret pal.
Going out early on a spring morning when the dew is still on the grass and smelling the morning air.
Sitting on the back of a motorcycle and smelling the honeysuckle as you ride by.
Knowing that God has a plan for me.
Babies of all kinds.
Unconditional love.
Sleeping with the windows open under a soft blanket.
Building a house with a family in need.
Knowing that I have freedom because our military heroes have ensured it.

There's so much more... And that's good.

Count your blessings instead of your burdens.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KINDNESS2 * PATIENCE = HOPE

Last fall, I took over the job of librarian for a large elementary school in a small town in the desert. The population of our K-5 school is right around 950 depending on the day of the week. Over 90% of our school population qualifies for Title 1. These kids come from every background you could imagine and some that you would never want to imagine. Most of them are good kids; some would try the patience of Blessed Mother Theresa.

Just after the first of the year, a new girl came to our school. Let’s call her “Betty”. Betty is a fourth grader, although I think she’s much older than the kids in her class. She walked into our school with not just a chip on her shoulder, but a whole, Costco sized bag of Ruffles. I soon discovered that this girl's homelife was terrible. No sense of security at all; parents who should have been made to take a test before they could have children. You know the type.

When she came into the library with her class, she was ALWAYS in the midst of the kids who caused chaos. Yes, I’d call her an instigator. She was disrespectful, rude, and a real smart ass. She never checked out a book. I finally had to tell the teacher that this class could not come down together. Most of the problems are caused by a small handful, with Betty in the center. It would become a feeding frenzy of obnoxiousness that the teacher couldn’t curb. So, we started having the kids come down 4 or 5 at time and only those who really wanted to be there to get books.

Two weeks into this plan, in walks Betty. Honestly, I was not clasping my hands with glee to see her. But, my philosophy is that every time a student walks through that library door, it is a new, fresh visit.

She checked out two books, not hardly saying anything except her name. When she was done, she left with a sneer. I told her to “have a nice day. And you’re welcome.”

Today Betty came in again and turned in her books. I thanked her and invited her to pick out two more. About 5 minutes later, she approached my desk with another girl. “We both picked the same books,” she said to me as I looked at the duplicate copies in each girl's hands.

“It’s always fun to have a book buddy,” I told her as I processed her books. When we were done, I told her, “Betty, this was a really good visit. It’s been a pleasure. You have a great afternoon.”

And before she turned to leave, she looked at me and.....smiled.

So you have to ask yourself this: What part am I playing in a child's life whether that child is one of my own, a neighbor, or a stranger? Remember that something you may say or do WILL have an impact that child. One need only decide if that will be positive or negative. You never know, that smile or that word of encouragement may be the only ray of hope for them. Without hope, what is there?

I can only wish that that little moment in our library has imbedded itself in her heart, and one day she will remember how it made her feel to have someone praise her and wish her something as simple as "a great afternoon."

Father Jonathon

This is a link to the blog of Father Jonathon Morris at Fox News. I like reading his thoughts and I hope you'll check them out, too.

As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'm going to put links to our favorite Web sites on the Musings blog so we can all easily access them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Book Review: Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods introduces a new character in this book: Rich Baron, a cop on patrol who witnesses an accident in the wee small hours of the morning. A woman runs a red light and broadsides a car driven by Clive Barrow, a well-known actor at a major studio in Hollywood. The woman is killed and Rick recognizes Clive when he rescues him from the wreckage. He gets him away from the scene and takes him to the studio where he's making a motion picture. The studio owner offers Rick a job as chief of security. His main job will be to keep Clive sober and on the set everyday. The story takes place in the late 30's the heyday of the old glamorous Hollywood. Mix in a little romance, gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel, blackmail and the beginning of WWII and you've got a good story. Woods has written 28 novels. I've read about 3/4 of them. His heroes are Holly Barker, Stone Barrington and Will Lee. Rick Baron joins this distinguished group of detectives. My favorite of all his books has always been "Palindrome". His books are enjoyable, sometimes a little violent, but a fast read. I highly recommend them.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Renaissance Chick

I have a good friend who has always called me a Renaissance Chick. I am a bit of a contradiction in terms. Have been known to wear a diamond tennis bracelet and Mickey Mouse watch at the same time.

My friend gave me the Renaissance Chick title several years ago, because I can cook, quilt, write a legal brief and frame a house. That means that my tools range from a sewing machine to my Henkels knives to a framing hammer. I have professional chef clothing that I wear when I'm really in the mood to cook and a toolbelt when I'm doing construction.

The last couple of days have been rough for me. Spare you the details, but I ended up drowning my sorrows in the Von Maur shoe clearance room. I love it there. I was looking for some really great boots - western, but Princess at the same time. I found three pairs. So I had to have them. (Darn it, shouldn't have paid that charge card off, too tempting.)

Bought a fantastic purse on clearance, too. Lots of bling, but with a western theme. Princess Cowgirl, I suppose.

Then to the Brighton Store. Shoes on clearance and a "free" umbrella. I know. It was a $100 umbrella and I got the shoes for free.

So I go out to my lovely red Beetle and open the spacious trunk. It actually IS spacious. Then I realized in order to get my shoes in the trunk, I was going to have to re-arrange my tools.

That's when I realized, yes, once a Renaissance Chick, always a Renaissance Chick.

Makes me smile.

And I know life is going to be just fine.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My Love Affair With Barns


Anyone who has seen my paintings probably notices that many have barns in them. Growing up in rural Michigan our farm had a huge red barn that was a landmark. It has always had a special place in my heart. My father always kept it fresh looking and to me it was beautiful. All old barns have their own personality. When I'm in the car I try to remember my camera so that I can capture something that looks intriguing. An added bonus is lots of old machinery, crates or anything that adds to the story. Each barn is a story unto itself. Who lived there? How much fun have the kids had jumping in the hay loft or looking for baby kittens or rabbits hidden in all the nooks and crannies? If it is old and abandoned, did the family move away? When? Why? In the case of our old red barn, my father sold the farm after my mother died. He moved into a mobile home on an acre close by. You could still see the beautiful red barn from his new home. The day of his funeral we took panorama pictures of it in the sunlit snow. It wasn't very long after that the beautiful red barn was struck by lightning and burned down into the basement. The site is all covered over now and covered with grass and weeds. When I visit that area now you almost miss the place because it is so empty and nondiscript. But it lives on in my paintings and in my heart.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Lady in The Pew

This is a link to Kelly Clark's blog. I absolutely love her writings.

Before she started her blog, she used to have a website with her essays published, but no area for us to comment. But that has changed.

She really represents what being a true Catholic is. Her rants are so funny sometimes. And so true.

I hope you'll visit her site and take a look.