When Ukraine Is Fighting for Its Life

It feels wrong to complain about how much more I’m paying for gasoline, or that my cable bill went up again, or that Libby’s teeth need cleaning and THAT will cost an arm and a leg.

And even as I type those last few words, I wince, thinking about the people in Ukraine who may pay so much more than an arm or a leg in this war against Russia.

Much in my life feels trivial now as I watch innocent people, ordinary people, teachers and stockbrokers and grandparents for heaven’s sakes, willing to give everything to be free. And what can I do, what can any of us do so far away, and with limited ways to provide help to the people in Ukraine?

There are many ongoing humanitarian efforts that are available to which we can contribute. I just got an email from my church with a link (Catholic Charities working in Ukraine and in neighboring countries) to donate. We can give financial aid.

Pope Francis has called for a Day of Fasting for Peace on Ash Wednesday:

I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.

We can pray and fast.

So on this end-of-the-month day when I go about my normal routine, when many of us here in the United States will go about our usual Monday activities, maybe you, me, all of us can take a moment to be grateful and help in whatever way we can.

And if I have to pay five bucks for a gallon of gas tomorrow, then maybe instead of grousing, I’ll remember to say a prayer while I’m pumping.

♥Cathy and Libs

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Okay, yes, it’s January. It’s supposed to be cold. And furthermore, I know there are plenty of folks dealing with FEET of snow outside their windows, whereas here, I’m just stepping out into twenty degree weather with teeth chattering. (It actually did snow a few weeks ago–BRRRR!) But I just feel like it may be colder than it usually is Down South this year.

Plus, as you’ve probably surmised, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to being cold. I always think of that Robert Frost poem, Fire and Ice, when I’m freezing, because frankly, ice, freezing, and cold temperatures would mean the end of the world to me. As Youngest Junior Hall said after kicking a basketball into his father’s company car rear window, “Just kill me now!”

Anyway, for your reading pleasure, FIRE AND ICE by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

And whilst we’re on the subject of weather, high winds and LOTS of rain brought a surprise to my neck of the woods. (Literally.) You can read all about it in Thoughts About Woods and Writing over at The Muffin.

Fortunately, the house is still standing and I’m still writing. In fact, I have my space heater going full blast, I’m munching on Hot Tamales and I’m getting ready for Nonfiction Fest that starts in just a few days. I think you’ll love it, no matter what you write (and I give you a couple good reasons why over at The Muffin in Best Kept Secrets.)

So I hope you’re nice and toasty wherever you are, and healthy and happily writing. And just to cheer you up, I’ve written a little poem of my own, which I call, Solving the Cold Dilemma (by Cathy C. Hall):

If you’re cold and have no heat,

Find some Hot Tamales and eat.

But honestly, a fire is even better,

And maybe a warm and cozy sweater.

♥ Cathy and Libs

The Last Day of the Year

New Year’s Eve is a little like Christmas Eve, isn’t it?

In that moment before, there’s such potential, such excitement! For what, who knows? And that’s the point, I think, when one’s standing on the precipice, right before the leap: there is no telling what is coming next.

The last week of the old year, I do a lot of thinking. It may look like napping or cleaning or eating cookies, but I am really engaged in an inordinate amount of ruminating and pondering. You can read how I apply all that thinking to my writing life over at The Muffin with End of the Year Thinking. But I also do a lot of thinking about me and my…well, all the other parts of my life.

And as I do a lot of inbox cleaning this time of year, I happened to come across a two minute video I’d saved by Matthew Kelly, a prolific Catholic Christian author. It’s titled Five Lessons from Roald Dahl so I knew immediately why I’d saved it.

I am a huge Roald Dahl fan, a lover of his children’s books and his macabre short stories, too. You can watch Kelly’s excellent video and hear the lessons we should learn from the following Dahl quotes but honestly, I think we’re all sharp enough to get the points:

1) “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

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“I will not pretend I wasn’t petrified. I was. But mixed in with the awful fear was a glorious feeling of excitement. Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.’ – Danny the Champion of the World

‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’ – The Twits

From The Witches: REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.

And finally, perhaps Dahl’s most well-known quote:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’ – Billy and The Minpins

I have no idea what can be coming next in this old world of mine, but I feel like a little Roald Dahl wit and wisdom might be just what we all need before making the leap into 2022. Happy writing, happy living, and happy New Year!

~♥Cathy (and Libs)