Friday, May 22, 2009

Runner Ducks

In our ongoing saga of creating Shirefeld Farm, we bought runner ducks earlier this spring in shades of black, brown, blue, and fawn. This is my first close acquaintence with ducks, and I have to admit I never realized quite how funny they are! A flock of ducks has achieved the closest thing to a "mind meld" I have yet seen: the flock acts as one: eating, swimming, marching, running -- and my, see how they run! For days my toddlers liked nothing better than to chase them around and around the play yard where the ducks were ensconced -- no matter how we tried to dissuade the children. The fact is, ducks are funny, and even funnier when they run, quacking, in an orderly mob that scurries and swerves in unison. Now they have found a quieter existence at our pond: where they rule the pool with dictatorial unity. Yet another proof (if we needed it) that God has a sense of humor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shrines by Mary Billingsley

For years I've been a fan of Mary Billingsley's paintings of little shrines, but I only discovered that I could share her art through her website recently. Mary creates shrines in honor of our Lord using materials a child would find: dolls, small toys, flowers from the field, postcards, household odds and ends, found objects. Once she has built and decorated a shrine in her studio, she sits down and paints it in lovely watercolor gouache. Years ago I visited her New England studio and witnessed this loving and reverent work in process. Above is one of my favorite shrines, which I post in honor of Our Lord's Ascension.
I found out that at long last a publisher has agreed to be publishing a collection of her shrines in honor of the Rosary: please consult her site for details. In the meantime, gather your children and visit some very special shrines: perhaps they will be inspired to create some of their own.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May Crowning Procession

On Mother's Day we celebrated with a family May procession to crown our outdoor statue of Mary. We were blessed to have the Hatkes join us for our annual event. While my son was willing to pose with the crown for a photo, he gladly relegated the carrying of the crown to his younger sister, ceremonially dressed in her favorite white Joan of Arc cape, while he proudly carried the prayer book and holy water. I am so glad our domestic priest, my husband, insists on performing these little acts of love for our Lady in the home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May Mary Altar

In honor of the Blessed Mother's month, my husband created a Mary altar just before Mother's Day, and I spent a happy hour layering an end table with vintage linen and arranging Willow Tree children and pottery animals around my favorite picture of our Lady. But the best part was a long sojourn in the fields with my toddler where we gathered handfuls of buttercups and wildflowers and arranged them in vintage glass bottles. Our small efforts produced a loveliness that even the toddlers in the house have respected (thus far!).

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Ring -- A Poem and Song

I am truly excited to announce that my younger sister Alicia Hernon has finally produced her own solo CD. To read the extensive review/rave on my "updates" blog, click here. But I wanted to share with you the lyrics of the third track on the album, a duet for engaged couples, which Alicia sung with my brother Martin.
This song is based on a poem I wrote of the same name when I was in college, where I spent many hours writing poetry. Shortly after I wrote it, Alicia set my lyrics to music, making it a far more beautiful creation than it was originally, and she sang it for my grandparent's golden jubilee. This is one of the few songs that currently doesn't have a sample track on Alicia's website, but perhaps Alicia will post it soon. Here are the lyrics of the original poem, which don't quite capture the intricate interplay of harmonizing and voices that you will hear on the CD:

The Ring
My sister, I ask you in this hour
Unfolding with the morning flower,
to stand with me and make a vow.
No more shall you be freedom's slave
but since your life you freely gave,
take servanthood in freedom now.
The ring, the round of eternity,
I place on your hand, I give to thee,
a symbol of your love for me.

A promise drawn out through fire and sand
Now gleams in silver on your hand
Eternity that enshrines your finger,
I stand to be yours as life is long:
clasp my hand, and be my singer.
Draw near to me and be my song.
The ring, surpassing old and new,
clings to your hand just as I do:
a symbol of my love for you.
copyright 1991, Regina Doman.
I hope you enjoy this poem. It was a gift that I am happy to share with others, and I'm delighted that Alicia, with her lovely voice and music, is able to share it with so many others.
All profits from Alicia's album will be donated to pro-life causes. To learn more about the album Beloved, click here.