103. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

J.M.J.

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Happy, Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

For the whole day, just Irish sway!

We hope you laugh, and dance, and sing,

While thankin’ God for everything!

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Nannie and I …some tunes we’ll sing,

Bein’ so glad for everything

That Irish fun does bring to all,

No matter whether tall or small

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A special dish we’ll share today!

‘Tis Potato Soup*… glad to say!

The recipe we’ll use to make

This dee-lish soup is yours to take…

Nannie will tell you where to see

How to make it and what needs be!

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This special day should have a feast,

Or a special treat, at the least!

No matter what, and come what may,

Let’s celebrate St. Paddy’s Day!

St. Patrick would have much fun, too,

If he were here with me and you!

I am so glad we talked today,

God bless you is what I do say!

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Note from Nannie!

 This recipe is here for you to enjoy, courtesy of Mairéad at irishamericanmom.com…

Traditional Irish Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 Large onion (peeled and chopped)

3 medium potatoes

2 oz. butter

1/2 pint chicken stock

4 fl. oz. cream

salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Peel and dice the onion and potatoes.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook for one minute coating completely in butter.  Add the potatoes and toss well with the onion and melted butter.  Cover the saucepan and mildly cook the vegetables, shaking the pot every few minutes to prevent sticking.  Pour in the stock and simmer the soup for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.  Puree the soup using a hand held blender or in batches in a blender.  Add the cream and mix well together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat to serve, and garnish with a swirl of cream and parsley.”

Please take special note that this post completes one full year  of story-rhymes and fun information for anyone and everyone who loves all things Irish!  I think of it as an online treasury of Irishness…like a reference book on the shelf that you can count on for some Irish fun for the whole Family!  I always think reading aloud brings some special fun and rhythm to rhymes, but whether you read aloud or quietly,  I hope you have lots of good fun reading (with someone, for someone, or all by yourself!) about Finney and his adventures, and also learning, at least a wee bit, some Irish facts and info that you might not have known.  Please stop by often. Finney will be waitin’!

God bless you and thank you for visiting Finney and Me!

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*Portrait of Finney done by a young, earnest  talent!

102. ‘Tis a Great Day for the Irish!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend! Hello today!

I hope  you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

Guess what tomorrow is, my Friend!

A day I do not want to end…

This special day comes every year…

This day that is so very dear…

‘Tis of St. Patrick’s Day I speak,

The day for all, both strong and meek!

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St. Patrick lived so long ago,

But to this day we still well know,

How he taught of Jesus, our King,

Who causes our Church bells to ring!

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St. Patrick was such a young man…

When his life changed ‘cause of God’s plan.

One day some Irish pirates came,

To steal…and Patrick they did claim.

These pirates brought him to Ireland…

After they stole him from his land.

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They sold him as a slave and he

So missed his home and his Fam’ly.

Patrick’s told us in his own ways*,

How much he prayed back in those days…

That all this helped him love God so,

And his Faith grew and he did know

So much of God he never knew…

His trust in God just grew and grew!

‘Twas as a shepherd, tending sheep,

He prayed so much, often…no sleep.

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Time came, though, when God had him go

Back to his Fam’ly…but he’d know*

No fear that day…and unafraid,

On a ship, his escape was made.

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Young Patrick sailed home on that day,

All this is true, what I do say…

Including when food did run out,

And the ship’s Captain, he did shout,

And told Patrick that he should pray

So they’d have food to eat that day.

And Patrick told them to believe

That God was with them…would not leave…

And that all things God sure could do…

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Patrick had learned this…this he knew.

This hungry group then ate and ate,

God did provide…without a wait.

When they had eaten and were full,

They were to God, just so thankful.**

Dear Patrick, as most of us know…

He did come back so he could show

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All in Ireland of God’s grand care,

For each of us,  no matter where.

So many stories could be told.

That’s how it’s been since days of old,

When  good St. Patrick loved us all,

No matter whether tall or small.

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St. Patrick is a Friend of ours,

Even more than trees and flowers.

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He gave his life for we Irish

No more, from St. Pat, could we wish.

One thing, though, more I need to say,

And that is to tell you the way

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We Leprechauns try helping some,

And that’s in how shamrocks do come!

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We spread the seeds in every place,

We travel to, or show our face!

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These shamrocks are always a sign,

Of one God-Three Persons Divine.

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St. Patrick knew the trisceal sight****

Would help the shamrock shed some Light,

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On teaching of the Trinity,

To all, who would, that shamrock, see!

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So, when you see those shamrocks green,

Just know that, though, we’ve been unseen,

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That Leprechauns help them to grow.

So all the world can, for sure, know,

That God-Three Persons wants to show

Us all The Love that’s always so…

This is God’s  Love  that never ends.***

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I hope that we are always Friends.

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I am so glad we talked today!

God bless you is what I do say!

Note from Nannie:

“St. Patrick often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick’s message…Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. So complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission, he feared nothing – not even death…

The Breastplate is Patrick’s poem of faith and trust in God…

Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired,

Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”  

                                                                                                   (Catholic Online at Catholic.org)

 Have a wonderful and happy day tomorrow!

Good St. Patrick, please pray for each and every day!

*Confessio (St. Patrick’s own words) translated by Pádraig McCarthy – #17

** Confessio – #19

***The Love That Never Ends – A Key to the Catechism of the Catholic Church by                 J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Gabriel O’Donnell, O.P., Romanus Cesario, O.P., and               Peter John Cameron, O.P.

The Book of Saints, Part 1, by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., and

Lives of the Saints for Boys, by Louis M. Savary were also used as guides for the text of this story-rhyme.

****See Post 64

101. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (26)

J.M.J.

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Well! Finney certainly had a lot to say about the time for this and the time for that!

It did seem, however, that it seemed all ok with him…except for Christmastime…hmmm…:)

I don’t think, however, that Finney is anything but over the moon about the Season of the Irish that we are in with St. Patrick’s great Feast just a few days away! But then again, Finney thinks the Season of the Irish is every day of every year! What Fun!   Finney knows, too, that Nannie agrees with him!

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So as the “timin’ is right” for getting’ ready for this “great day for the Irish,” I would add that it is a great day for everybody! I feel sure that St. Patrick would love celebration of all that God gives us and does for us…all of us.

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A fun story to start with has to do with a place in New York State. Syracuse, New York is the home of a place called Tipperary Hill, where a certain traffic light displays the green light above the red light. The basics are that some Irish youth, after the light was installed at the intersection of Milton Avenue and Tompkins Street in 1925, just couldn’t get settled about British red over the Irish green.

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An article by Sarah Zhang at gizmodo.com points out that Syracuse has deep and broad Irish connections…so much so that it “has a parade in February to kick off St. Patrick’s Day Season.” Anyway, it seems there was a bit o’ stone throwing to break the lights…”over and over again.” I know that Finney was not at all pleased that accusations of blame were directed toward leprechauns of evil intent…can anyone imagine such a thing…thinks Finney!

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The problem was ultimately resolved, according to Sarah, when “the city’s council relented, and an upside-down traffic light has directed cars at Tipperary Hill ever since.” Interestingly enough, when the local newspaper, Syracuse Post-Standard, researched the story in 2005, “they did find widows of men who claimed to be those stone-throwing youth back in the 1920s.” Sarah Zhang brought her report to a conclusion with the very fun fact that no matter who thinks what about this grand story, “when the Irish Prime Minister came to visit the United States in 2005, he made a special trip to Tipperary Hill – just to visit this one-of-a-kind traffic light.” {Syracuse Post Standard}

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The website of Coleman’s Irish Pub, which is located on Tipperary Hill, adds a few more details (this website is also a fun read!). The hill gained its name because it was primarily settled by Irish immigrants in the 1820s. They “made up a large part of the labor force on the Erie Canal (which extended from the Hudson River in Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo),” and most were originally from Co. Tipperary in Ireland. When it “was completed in 1825, many of the Irish laborers stayed on because Syracuse, with its central location on the canal had just been named a village and was on its way to becoming a thriving city in two more decades.”   Factory work begin to provide employment, as well, and in 1884, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church was established, and “serves the area to this day…Today at the intersection, a small park and sculpture memorializes the group known as the ‘Stonethrowers.’ On March 15, 2005 Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern visited Tipperary Hill and had his photo taken at the light.” He made the comment that ‘What they were up to in those days (was) kept for the future…”

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Currently, according to this write-up on the Coleman’s Irish Pub website, “Tipp Hill is enjoying a resurgence today as a comfortable city neighborhood populated by a diverse but Irish influenced citizenry.”

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Grand stuff!

The last tidbits for today are found at the website www.ireland.com, which, by the way has lots of fun info about travels to Ireland and different details that might be helpful. So, under the title of Outdoors Ireland: Outdoor Ireland for kids, there is fun information about places to go and things to do especially for the young’uns.

Causey Farm in Co. Meath, Funny Farm Adventures in Co. Down, An Irish Country Quads in Co. Monaghan are mentioned in terms of  “a surprising array of family-friendly playgrounds… ”      Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, the Belfast Zoo, and Tayto Park are also described as great Family destinations.

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Near Cobh, County Cork

Also “kayaking, rock-climbing, surfing, and horse riding can be found all over Ireland… Falconry (near Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo), and a coasteering adventure from the jagged coast of Wexford’s Hook Peninsula” are also available activities. “Climbing up a mountainside and jumping into the ‘cool clear waters of the Bloody Bridge River” (called wet bouldering), would take us to the Mournes.

Westport House, on Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, “was built on a dungeon formerly owned by Ireland’s pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.” This is also the location of a Pirate Adventure Park…There are Norman castles in Malahide and Kilkenny, with “some of the best playgrounds in the country”   contained in the “surrounding parkland and demesnes.”

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Speaking of the great outdoors…exploring the natural wonders of Ireland is offered by the Lough Neeagh Discovery Centre (on Oxford Island). It is a National Nature Reserve in Co. Armagh, with “footpaths, bird-watching hides, wildflower meadows, picnic and play areas.”

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An Creagán, in the Sperrin Mountain foothills, is a learning center “on the site of a 10,000 year old glacial esker…After learning about the surrounding bogland, families can explore the stone circles at Beaghmore, or venture off to walk or cycle several forest trails stitched into the landscape.”

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So all these mentions are only a small part of what can be found on our mystical island of Ireland.   This particular website (Ireland.com) focused on these particular activities for younger members of our families.

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Given that there would be so much more to speak about regarding where to go and what to do in Ireland, Finney is tellin’ me that we have to get busy with our St. Paddy’s Day preparations! Everything green seems to be the idea…whether we eat it or wear it…Omgosh! Hope you are doin’ the same…gettin’ ready for the “wearin’ of the green!”

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God bless you and thank you for visitin’ Finney and me!

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100. Timin’s!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Hello today!

I hope you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

St. Patrick taught us all so well,

And Bible teachin’ he would tell.

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He told us of Adam and Eve,

And all he’d say, we would believe.

He never tried to hurt a one…

He fought our darkness and he won

So many souls who’d see the Light…

Dawn breakin’ through the long dark night.

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He also told of Noah’s ark,

And how Noah’s our Patriarch!

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He told us of King David, too,

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Who was the grand shepherd boy who

Would be the one through whom would come,

God’s only Son, Who would come from

Heaven above to save us all,

No matter whether tall or small…

The King of Kings…Jesus, our King…

The One for Whom the angels sing!

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Our Jesus’ words, St. Pat did tell…

He knew of this so very well.

We all knew God did send him here,

To Ireland our grand home so dear!

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One of the lessons St. Pat taught,

Was all about just when we ought

To do something or maybe not…

To help us when we’re in a spot

When it’s not clear just what to do…

For anyone…for me…or you.

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He told us there’s a time that’s good,

For things to happen when they should…

A time when wisdom speaks to say,

To tell the order for the day…

When things should grow…and when they don’t…

When harvest comes, and when it won’t…

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When it’s time to laugh, or to cry…

When not to question…not ask why…

When we should ponder…when to dance…

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When to know…or just take a chance…

When to be quiet…when to talk…

When to run, or when just to walk…

Sometimes all things will be at peace,

When angry differences will cease.

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St. Pat, of wisdom, spoke so much…

How Grace allows God’s lovin’ Touch

To keep right order in our land…

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St. Pat has prayed that our heart’s search,

Would lead us to be in God’s Church…

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To be His children, one and all,

No matter whether tall or small!

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I think I know all these things well,

And that is what I want to tell!

What St. Pat taught…it stays with me…

Oh, yes, it does…with me, Finney!

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When sunrise comes…I am awake!

When hungries come…eat apple bake!

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When sleep-ies come, I go to bed.

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When thirst-ies come, I drink instead…

Don’t need to think…cool water’s grand…

The best to drink in all the land!

But not the kind that washes sand…

From the blue sea down by the strand…

But fresh rain water’s what I mean.

For fresh rain water, I’m so keen!

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But back to timin’…when is good….

When to do things…just when you should…

Like sittin’ when your legs are tired,

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And follow through when you’re inspired…

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And standin’ when you need to be

Upright to work or just to see…

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When time requires us to run,

We do so till our work is done!

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And when it’s time durin’ the day,

To play…well, we sure play and play!!!

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Now let’s talk of mornin’ glories,

And that’s just one of my stories!

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When mornin’ comes, her bloom’s so wide…

By nighttime seems she wants to hide!

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These shamrocks love the mornin’ light,

Then they look like they pray at night!

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A rose will bud and bloom in sun,

And then, not long, its life is done.

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I heard the geese fly just this day…

But flying just the other way,

Then they did when it was the Fall,

Then South, but now North for them all!

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Sometimes we’re cold…need to get warm…

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Or to stay dry when there’s a storm…

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Then other times we get so hot…

We try to find a swimmin’ spot!

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Sometimes an eagle’s perched up high,

And other times, eagle will fly!

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Sometimes we can just be outside,

And sometimes we just need to hide!

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Sometimes we can walk nice and free…

But then there’s times to find a tree

To keep us safe, with door of red…

Safe from danger …that’s what I said!

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The risin’ sun will blaze at dawn…

Then light comes and blaze has withdrawn.

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There is a time for everything…

For quiet nights and birds that sing…

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For stars to shine and sun to rise

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For birds to fly high in the skies!

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For days of calm, and winds to blow,

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For grand blue skies and a rainbow…

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For washin’ up and bein’ dry,

Instead of flyin’ in the sky!

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For trees to grow and leaves to fall,

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For time to rest and to play ball!

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Now one thing that I just must say,

Is to admit that Christmas Day,

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and everything of Christmastime,

with every bell and every chime,

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I love so much it’s hard for me,

to put away things Christmas-y.

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There is a time for Christmas fun,

I know there’s time it should be done.

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 I try to put most things away,

For fun for the next Christmas Day,

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‘Tis hard for me, though…me, Finney,

To just take down my Christmas tree!   954

There are some things, though, ALWAYS right,

That make a day have Divine bright…

Just bein’ thankful for each day…

Bein’ thoughtful in any way…

Workin’ so hard  and playin’ fair…

Enjoyin’ “music” in the air!

Let those you love know it is so.

Don’t miss a chance to let them know!

I, Finney, do want to tell you,

I am so grateful for you, too!

I am so glad we talked today!

God bless you is what I do say!

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Note from Nannie!

“There is an appointed time for everything,

And a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal.

A time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;

A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

A time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.

                             -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

* courtesy of a young artist!

**Fr. Bede Shipps, O.P. and Finney

*** courtesy of Stevie M.L.A. Towne

****Image Credit  ESA/Hubble and NASA                                                                                       Acknowledgement:  Judy Schmidt

 

99. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (25)

J.M.J.

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1019

Hello, Friend! Nannie here!

At this time of year, it is so fun to feel hints of Spring in the air and know that St. Patrick’s Day is not far off.   It’s just so nice to feel the “changin’s” as each season ends and a new one begins, but especially when Winter eases into spring.When my six children were growing up, anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day brought such fun as sometimes-very-severe-winter-weather- days were drawing to a close!

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According to irishcentral.com, “There are eight sacred days in Ireland, the times when the old Celtic world stopped to celebrate.   Christianity adapted many of their feast days to match.” Those first of those two “sacred days”, according to this irishcentral.com article, “From Bealtaine to Samhain – celebrate Ireland’s sacred Celtic holidays,” by Molly Muldoon, was St. Brigid’s Day which marked the beginning of Spring on February 1st. Of course, the second is St. Patrick’s Day, which is also “considered the middle of the Spring season and is also referred to as the Vernal Equinox.” Even as I write I can hear the bird sounds outside and this morning, I saw at least half a dozen robin red-breasts hopping around getting nest-stuff!

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The BBC website tells us that the start of Spring is called “Imbolg/Imbolc/Óimelc. “The ‘experts’ are not sure…about the origin of of the name Imbolg, but they believe it is connected to an ancient word for milk…the beautiful little crosses made from reeds which are called St. Brigid’s Crosses are usually made on St. Brigid’s Day and it is believed that they will protect the inhabitants of the house for a year if they are hung over the doors.

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One of the more often heard stories about St. Patrick occurred at this time of year at the Hill of Tara. According to mythicalireland.com, “The Hill of Tara, known as Temair in gaeilge, was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland – 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times.

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In ancient Irish religion and mythology Temair was the sacred place of dwelling for the gods, and was the entrance to the otherworld. Saint Patrick is said to have come to Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at its most powerful site. One interpretation of the name Tara says that it means a ‘place of great prospect’ and indeed on a clear day it is claimed that features in half the counties of Ireland can be seen from atop Tara. In the distance to the northwest can be seen the brilliant white quartz front of Newgrange and further north lies the Hill of Slane, where according to legend St. Patrick lit his pascal fire (to celebrate Easter) prior to his visit to Tara in 433 A.D.                                                                     The Catholic encyclopedia at newadvent.org tells us this event took place on Easter Sunday…March 26, 433 A.D.

An article at irishtimes.com, “Into the light – An Irishman’s Diary on the glories of spring,” by Pól Ó Muirí, comments on spring’s beginning with St. Brigid’s Day and makes a point of saying that we will definitely have “more light, not sunshine necessarily, certainly not heat, but a little more light.” Pól tells us about a “wonderful saying in Ireland: ‘There’s a bit of a stretch in the evenings’…that bit more light in your daily routine.”

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In Post 91, we spoke of the Trias Thaumaturga (book about the three wonder-working saints of Ireland…Patrick, Brigid and Columba*) (catholic.org)
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Richard Killeen in his In Ireland – Land, People, and History, tells us that “the island of Ireland was overwhelmingly Christian in its allegiance,” and that it is “to Patrick that we return in this regard…here was a definite, living breathing man of whose existence we can be certain…” Mr. Killeen calls St. Brigid ‘Mary of the Irish,’ and calls St. Columba (Colm Cille)‘the most celebrated of the early abbots.

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My Family’s resting place in Cobh, Co. Cork!

Though it isn’t until June 9 that we celebrate the Feast of St. Columba, we have gotten a good start in Spring with February 1 bringing us the Feast of St. Brigid , and March 17 bringing us the Feast of St. Patrick!

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Happy Spring! God bless you and thank you for visiting Finney and me!

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98. Changin’s!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Hello today!

I hope you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

Just looks and feels like changin’ days…

Seems like some days have Spring-like ways.

The Forest trees have kept me warm…

Safe from danger…many a storm.

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I see a bird high in a tree,

Who’s sayin’ tweet, tweet, tweet to me!

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I hear the sounds of other birds…

“twit-cha”and “phwee” instead of words….

“Chirp-chirp” and “peep-peep”, I hear, too,

Birds’ sounds…different…from me and you!

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I hear the crow call with his caw,

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And in the field, green-lings, I saw!

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Those little green shoots, sure but small,

Are startin’ to “hear” Springtime’s call!

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So, from the Forest, I will come,

And, in the field, I will play…some.

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I’ll run and feel the cool spring air.

I’ll jump and play just everywhere!

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I also like the water’s melt…

My hands, the ice melt’s cold, have felt!

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Flowers will come…it won’t be long…

Breezes will carry each bird’s song.

The pines won’t be the only green,

As trees’ blooms fill out Forest’s scene.

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The eagles’ nest is quiet still.

Hopefully, won’t be long until

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Little eaglets rest in the nest,

With parents givin’ what is best

To help their little eaglets grow,

So grand and strong…the world to show

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That they can fly so very high…

So way, way up high, in the sky!

And robins very soon will be

Hoppin’ around so busily…

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Gatherin’ little twigs and leaves

And grasses that will make the weaves

Of their nests’ walls, sturdy and strong,

To keep their chicks safe for as long

As needed for them till they fly…

Fly up, away, into the sky.

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The browns are letting greens peek out…

That makes me want to jump and shout!

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Hooray, hooray! Spring’s comin’ now!

It won’t be long till we see how

The Earth that’s warmed will let things grow…

Burst forth with plants that soon will show

Those many colors we so love…

Our Rainbows’ gift from God above!

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When coldness had chased warmth away,

And Fall eased in with lots to say,

The leaves did wither from the cold,

Without some warmth they were not bold,

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To face the air with strength and grace,

So all the world could “see” their “face!”

The greens had mostly turned to brown,

And fine tall plants had fallen down.

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The frost had coated everything,

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And birds, each day, they did not sing.

Winter then came, north winds did blow,

And, sometimes, we even had snow!

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Not too much snow, amount was small,

And Christmas made time good for all!

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Some ice had crusted here and there,

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And finally melted… leaves are bare.

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But now spring rains will gently clean

And water well a new, green scene!

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Once more we’ll see puffs blowin’ ‘round,

Lookin’ for a place on the ground…

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Fine seeds will fly, hopin’ to grow,

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And flowers will try hard to show.

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The fruit trees’ blooms…they will, us, make,

Yearn for harvest and apple bake!

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What’s happenin’ now is such great fun,

‘Cause soon we’ll enjoy the warm sun!

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We’ll laugh and dance and jump and run,

On grand green grass till day is done!

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With Angel Friends and breezes soft…

While sky shows birds that are aloft…

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We’ll be so thankful Spring has come,

And Winter’s cold, we’ve freedom from!

 0216161025_HDR   0215160920a    0125162230_HDR-2 1957  I am so glad we talked today!

God bless you is what I do say!

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97. Nannie’s Fun Facts (24)

J.M.J.

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Hello, Friend!  Nannie here!

According to irishfireside.com, “Ireland was once an island of forests.”

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The Tree Council of Ireland concerns itself with “tree planting, management, and conservation.”  The Tree Council also makes effort to make sure “heritage and ancient trees…survive as long as possible…”  (treecouncil.ie)

The website livingtreeeducationalfoundation.org tells us that “Traditionally, living trees have played a central role in the practical and daily lives of the Irish people.” An “8th-century legal tract…classifies (trees) in … groups.”  The oak and the Scots Pine are in the Group called “Nobles of the Wood (Chieftain Trees).”  The Hawthorn (Whitethorn) is in the Group called “Commoners of the Wood (Peasant Trees).”  The Blackthorn is in the Group called “Lower Divisions of the Wood (Shrub Trees).”                                                               “A woodland was one of the most important parts of a landscape, giving sustenance, shelter, and sanctuary to a community.”                                                                                                   One of the “Sacred Trees of Ireland” was “an oak at the mouth of the Shannon, Co. Meath…’Eo Mugna’…  Some of (the sacred trees were reputed to be large enough to shelter a thousand men.”                                                                                                                                                 An oak was “associated with kingship.”

347 The high King of Ireland, Brian Boru, was said to have planted an oak tree!                                 A “huge live oak in Raheen, near Scarriff, Co. Clare…was reputed to have been planted by the Irish king a thousand years ago.” (irishcentral.com)

The blackthorn has been more familiarly used in the making of shillelagh(s)* and walking canes.  We learn at irishfireside.com that the blackthorn can be known to bring hope and also provides safety to the nightingale bird.

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The hawthorn (whitethorn) has berries that the birds love!

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The Tree Council of Ireland tells us that  “Around 12,000 years ago, Ireland was covered in snow and ice.  This was known as the Ice Age.  As the weather became warmer, the snow and ice melted and trees began to grow.”  Seeds of different trees were carried to Ireland by birds, animals and the wind “across the landbridges from Britain and the rest of Europe.  Eventually, the seas rose, the landbridges were flooded and Ireland became an island.  Our native trees are the trees that reached here before we were separated from the rest of Europe.”                                                                                                                                                   Among those native trees were oak and Scots pine.  Maple, hawthorn (whitethorn), and blackthorn are also found in Ireland.

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“Maples are commonly planted in city streets and parks.”  (ucd.ie)

“Ireland’s oldest oak trees are being revived as part of an international campaign to save the forests and to help propagate the DNA of ancient woodlands…Because the oaks are direct descendants of the ancient Irish forests that flourished after the Ice Age, they contain the genetic material best equipped to thrive in the country today.  The Archangel Project (global initiative to propagate the DNA of ancient forests, from ancient Ireland to ancient Greece) co-founder David Milarch says, ‘We want to help Ireland reforest itself.  It’s imperative to reforest the planet, and it makes sense to use the oldest, most iconic trees that ever lived.’  Scattered around Ireland are remnants of the post glacial woodland that covered the country for 9,000 years.”                                                                                                There are ancient oak woods in County Clare that have “remarkable DNA…having been in one place for 1,000 years.”                                                                                                                              A representative of a group called the Woodland League, Andrew St. Ledger, tells us that “the authentic landscape of Ireland is western Atlantic temperate rainforest, dominated by oak.”  Mr. St. Ledger says “We are optimistic our native forests will return.  It will be a slow process and will have to be mostly achieved by the people themselves.  We are a forest people without a forest.  But not forever.”  (irishcentral.com – “Bringing Ireland’s ancient oak trees back to life”  by Jane Walsh)

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Now to our evergreen pines!  The oldest tree in the world is a bristlecone pine…over 5,000 years old in the White Mountains of California.  (livescience.com)                                                  “Scots Pine is known as a pioneer tree, able to thrive in hostile environments and make their surroundings more hospitable to allow other plants to flourish…it was one of the first trees to make a home in Ireland after the last ice age and is the only pine native to the country…A walk through a pine forest is said to invigorate and refresh the soul.  Pine resin has a distinct fresh fragrance that when breathed in can give you a delightful feeling of vitality.”  (ireland-calling.com)

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The Government of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine tells us that “Scots pine fits naturally into the Irish landscape,” and “has always been significant in Irish history.”  (agriculture.gov.ie)

And, Of course, why wouldn’t Finney love any tree that was called ever…green!

In the visitors centre of the Ceide Fields in northwestern Ireland, there is displayed a “bog pine” which was “uncovered during turf cutting by Patrick Caulfield in Belderrig…It was part of an ancient forest of pine trees which grew on the bog and has been radiocarbon dated to about 4,300 years old.  This tree had fallen over so the trunk is preserved as well as the roots.” This information came from the Ceide Fields portion of museumsofmayo.com.  A trip to this site would be well worth your time as it tells an amazing story of the natural preservation of an agricultural settlement in Ireland thousands of years ago!

God bless you and thank you for visitin’ Finney and me!

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 *A shillelagh is a blackthorn stick or club.