St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Monday, April 28, 2014

DNA results…..

So, some of my DNA testing results are finally starting to come in.  So far I am a Maternal line:   J2B1A

I am a bit surprised and not surprised.  I don’t have my entire Ancestry composition, but basically a my category is a subgroup of the J category, which might make more sense (Slovak, likely).

Here’s what my profile says:

  • Haplogroup: J2, a subgroup of J
  • Age: more than 20,000 years
  • Region: Europe, Near East
  • Example Populations: Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Highlight: J2 may have entered Britain with invading Anglo-Saxons.

Both sides, my father and mother certainly were heavy with German heritage.  So, apparently I’m not as Irish/Welsh as we might have thought, but favor the more Slovakian German side.

This is all the composition results yet, so I will update later as more come in.

Spring improvement list

Listen to more Spencer Day music while working on the computer

Listen to my classical music (louder) while working around the house

Buy healthier snacks; at least for myself; like more KIND fruit & nuts bars

Remember to breathe in and out consciously more often

Keep a lovely fragrant candle lit daily

Use the fire pit more often in the evenings

Look at more beautiful art, like my favorite Claude Monet

Speak kind words first and most often to things I find appalling

Take time to sit and watch something (I’m a doer, I rarely sit still long enough to watch anything, unless planted in a theater seat).

Renew my Magnificat prayer book companion devotional (Ok, got that one done!) check!

Find some more pause in the day – literally stop and smell the roses


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bread of Life, Food for the Journey

The circle of life.  It is a truth that no one can deny.

Today, at my twenty-third first communion practice with my class, a funeral was being prepared around us.  I will say, this is the first time in all these years, I’ve had to abbreviate my practice due to a funeral at our church.   We managed, but, like the photographer said, it’s “the circle of life”.  We have these beautiful young children preparing for their first holy communion, receiving the bread of life for the first time, and a man who in his final hours of life on earth, received “Viaticum” food for the journey, his final communion bidding him farewell on angels wings to eternity.

It’s moments like this that help put things straight – priorities. 

Such events bring such solemn realization of how petty and selfish we can be at ever turn.  How frivolous and ridiculous we can be about things we place such importance on.  What are those things? Are they really so terribly important??

I’ve have recently dealt with a long two weeks of super stressed moments; family difficulties, relationship problems, tough decision making when it comes to work, school, my husband’s business plans and parenting.  So, to encounter the utter inconvenience of a funeral infringing upon my first communion class preparations, photos and practice, is very sobering indeed.

Who am I anyway?  Just an instrument in God’s hands.  A crooked person God can write straight with.  That is all.  And yet, that is every thing.  Every thing HE needs and desires from me.  And so it is.

I pray for Eddie, Olivia, Colin, Miles, Dominic, Trent, Abby, Aiden, and  Nathan, as they receive holy communion for the first time tomorrow, and will do so for the rest of their lives.  And I pray for the repose of the soul of our dear parishioner who left this earth to continue onto his journey in eternity. Life, death.  There’s no getting out of this life alive.  But for those of us that believe in eternal life, we will be more alive than we ever have been once God calls us to our heavenly home.

First Combanner2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Art: the beauty & fun of it

My oldest son is a very talented young man.  He graduated with a Fine Arts degree and English minor last spring and continues to grow his work through the co-op art studio/gallery he belongs to and works for. (Mr McGillicutty Art Studios)

His specialty is technical pen with ink.  It is amazing what he can do.  While he generally does beautiful nature scenes, cloudscapes, birds, mountains.....he also loves cartooning and has put up his own blog to feature some of his cartoon series.  So, I leave you with a few of his pieces here.

In a Handbasket

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

Jesus Washing the Feet of His Disciples ~ Giovanni Agostino da Lodi c. 1500

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


We are wrapping up school here at home, and then taking Holy Thursday and Good Friday off, to immerse ourselves in church services and ready ourselves for the glorious day of Easter.

During this season of Lent, I have taken more devotional time to myself –getting up even earlier to read, meditate and pray.  My Lenten sacrifices this year have been challenging, and because I don’t feel we need to blurt them out there, let’s just say, God has been working on me! 

Today, as I read and grade a religion paper written by my 9th grade son, his words on “Faith”, really come to rest on my heart and appeal to my logical mind.

“….. Faith must be universal, it must believe in the teachings fully without doubts, and not be confined to specific teachings…” 

“…It must be conquering and unconquerable, meaning it should be strongest so it won’t be forgotten and lost to worldly things….”  (and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Matt 16:18)

“…forbidden books, or other forms of entertainment such as movies, television, video games and more, are to be avoided if it teaches against the church, or may lead one towards sin..” (avoiding the near occasion of sin)

These are a small part of my son’s essay, and I am well pleased that these are teachings presented to him in his studies that he must discuss and write about, and make his own. 

Faith is a gift.  It is akin to firm “belief”, Infused in us through Holy Baptism through the power of the Holy Spirit when baptism washes away original sin and opens up the channels for God’s graces to flow within the soul and mark one as His own.  Later Confirmation completes and seals baptism by full acknowledgment, consent, acceptance and a profession of faith by the recipient.  We are saved through Baptism, we are strengthened as soldiers of Christ through Confirmation, ready to defend our Faith.

Our profession of Faith:

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest….

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13

This beautiful Palm Sunday marks another year of entering Holy Week and commemorating the passion and death of our Lord Jesus.  This Sunday was a particularly warm and sunny day, a double blessing.  But as the weather changes later in the week, so does our focus on this very special journey.

How many Holy Weeks I have encountered as a young child, a young adult, a young mother, a more mature mother who has brought her family along the way of the Lord.

How my heart still feels deep joy on Holy Thursday as we meet our Lord in the Eucharist as his Last Supper, our first communion ….

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

How my heart feels the sharp pain of the scourging, the crown of thorns, the long dreadful journey of carrying the heaviest cross of all, the sins of mankind.

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of he Skull, (in Hebrew, Golgotha).”

John 19:17

And how my heart expires with his, in his final moments of anguish and pain and absolute pure love …for me, for you, for all…

“When he has received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up the spirit.”

John 19:30

I pray this Holy Week is a true transformation that touches your heart, brings you tears of both joy and sorrow and mostly gratitude for our great God giving us the gift of His own Son.  May we always hold our Christ in our hearts and know that our salvation has been bought for a price.

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Isaiah 44:22

Friday, April 04, 2014

DNA–ancestry & fun stuff :)

Let it not be said I grow boring in mid life!  I have long been on a quest to get further back on my father’s Irish side of the family, something he tried to do while living, traveling to Ireland, and doing research.  This Irish side would be his paternal end…..and well, you know how many John Reynoldses exist in the 1700s in Ireland???  And Frances O’Reilly’s??   Yes, so my dead end continues, as it did for my father.  Although he would be right-proud that I was able to put together his mother’s German side within one year of research, making a break through for his cousin Mary Burg, (and wasn’t she just thrilled!)  It was an incredible find, to locate a genealogical site in Germany with our family documented in it.  Of course it was all in German :)  so, I had to use an on line foreign language translator to communicate with its owner.  And it worked! 

But the Irish side…..oh how I wish I could be that lucky.  I’ve only gotten to the  great grandfather for my father’s paternal side, (that brings us to 1798 with the birth of his great grandfather); where in contrast, I’ve made it to 1600s with the German maternal side. 

My own mother’s maternal side consists of even more remote chances.  With Eastern Europe and its records being so terribly destroyed during the World Wars, records in the Slovakian regions are hard to come by.  I have a few immigration papers of my mother’s aunts, that arrived by ship through Boston, but little exists of any further origins into Slovakia, other than the names of the towns of Smizany and Uzofce. 

So today, my son mailed off my package of DNA in a lab tube.  Yes.  Because there is this really cool system of giving a saliva sample, and it being processed through DNA technology, and the results sent to you, right to your web account you set up with the provider;  in this case:  I used  as recommended by a friend who is in search of her biological family.  

So, I am so interested in seeing what my DNA holds….what’s the strongest percentage of culture I carry… it German? Irish? Slovakian? and some Jewish?  We have a Jewish end of the family on my father’s mother’s side – Russian. 

I guess the lab will tell in time.  I’ll let you know what I discover :)