Mary Magdalene – Apostle to the Apostles

April 6, 2013

I love this woman, beloved disciple – not wife, but dear friend from all evidence, who stood by the cross and important leader in the early church.  She was sent to tell the astounding news of Christ’s rising from death as first born of us all.Image

“Enough! the Resurrection … G.M.Hopkins

April 6, 2013
My favorite Easter poem.

My favorite Easter poem.


April 6, 2013

I know this sounds like a weird combination, but each has filled my life this past week.

As I pass the single Lily on the living room table the delicious scent of Easter reminds me of this mysterious time of daring to hope. In this northern hemisphere we see signs of crocuses and other portends of spring with new new life breaking through the soil each year. I hear bird songs and wait for the bees and butterflies to bring joy and pollinate the trees, flowers and our food. The days are already growing longer. We trust that eggs will become little birds, that babies will be born, and that there’s a butterfly inside a Caterpillar.

The cross on the church lawn is draped in white. I made an insert to our church bulletin’s Peace and Justice page about the revelation of the Resurrection coming first to women. The crosses in my life I attempt to carry more brightly. And herein lies my computer story. I tell it in some detail in behalf of all the desperate people, who blame their computer problems on their own stupidity. Get help, you may be vindicated at the end!  I was.

I’ve been getting a message regularly for several months on my wonderful 27 inch iMac that has a 1 TB drive. “There’s not enough room on your startup disk. You need to delete some documents.” I know I have a lot of stuff on my computer, but for weeks now I have puzzled about how it can be that though I keep deleting so much to finally get readings of 10 and up to 50 GB of free space showing in my hard drive info panel after some hours of simple work I get that discouraging message again? I’ve moved every big thing like movies to an external hard drive. In fact, I bought a new 4 TB external drive, because I didn’t trust what was happening with my 2 TB external. What was wrong with me to delete so many files and just not be able to get enough space to open programs?

Yesterday was the final straw. I started out the morning with only 2 GB, laboriously retrieved with difficulty as it became harder to find more to delete. But I figured this was enough to be able to at least drag more files to the trash and empty it. Sometimes I hadn’t been able to even empty trash.

I deleted and deleted and deleted. But by afternoon I had even less.  I was down to helpless feeling 186 MB. I deleted some more, feeling crazier and crazier, not able to believe what I was experiencing. The next reading was 24 MB. I finally surrendered and called AppleCare, totally embarrassed that a 1 TB hard drive was so full I couldn’t move.

My 3 year AppleCare runs out very soon, but it’s a wonderful thing to have. I knew I had to resolve everything I could while my warranty was still valid. A lovely woman kindly took me through many steps, such as restarting the computer after temporarily pulling all the plugs, then looking through some more hidden places such as Cache folders, which seems to be located in a number of areas. After doing all these things we took a reading.  I now had 0 kB!  ZERO!  By then she had access to my screen so saw it with her own eyes.  We both groaned in disbelief. She said she needed to go to her supervisor with this one.

After a few minutes Michael came on. They both took my phone number in case there was a disconnect, which I appreciated very much. This time, Michael also gave me his direct line, in case I need to call him back for some more help on this case.

He had seen the situation occasionally, looked at the screen and with a little red arrow controlled by him, pointed me to what I should do or type in next. I like this better than when these whizes take over completely and move so fast that I have no idea what happened. I want to learn from such experience. But this time, we went so deep into the innards of my Mac that I could never repeat the steps. He was searching to see where all these megabytes and gigabytes were settled. We finally found them, in the Mac Mail program.

I remembered about 2 months ago, my mail program collapsed, and I had to get my e-mail by going through the Internet.  I just left the mail program alone, unresolved.  It seemed to come back, sort of, but not fully, so I’ve continued getting my e-mails from the websites. Michael and I continued to dig into all sorts of things relating to the mail program. It appears that something I was trying to send those many weeks ago kept trying to be sent and it filled up my hard drive, over and over.  Even as we spoke and he explained this, the numbers reflecting available space kept getting smaller and smaller.

Want to guess how many GB were retrieved by the end of our operations? — 725 GB out of 1000 total as free space.  That is 725,000 MB.  or 725,000,000KB!  Most docs are only a few KB. Michael suggests that this can happen when one tries to send something too big.  I now have plenty of room for working on Photoshop or books. Hurrah!

I had never heard of such a situation, so want to share it for others, since folks reading this must have a fundamental relation with their computers which no doubt sometime mis-behave.  Take heart, it might not be your goof.

THE PARABLE OF 2 TREES – Jer 17:5-10

February 28, 2013





Such contrast between different ways of being in this world!  The results make the distinctions clear, but by the time we pay attention it may be too late to change our habitual way of of thinking and sharing.  I hope not, since I’m so often like the 1st tree, the one in the desert, who acts like it can live without water, or find its own source.

The 1st reading of the mass for Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent  Jer 17:5-10  is one I found so profound I memorized it in the old translation. “Cursed be the man who trusts in man and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord. He shall be like  Tamarack in the desert and shall not see when good shall come.” The new translation  calls this miserable plant a “barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.”

Cutting ourselves off from the love of God, just trusting in ourselves like this barren bush or Tamarack tree – choosing to grow away from the water. This hit my 18-year-old heart hard.

Then the contrast. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord his God. He shall be like a tree planted besides running waters that stretches out its roots to moisture. It shall not fear when the heat shall come. The leaves thereof shall be green and in the time of drought it shows no distress but still bears fruit. More torturous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways according to the merit of his deeds.”

Opening oneself to being attentive to what God wants of us seems the key virtue asked of us in this reading as well as the one about the difference between sheep and goats in Matthew 25. The main virtue of sheep is that they listen to the voice of the shepherd and follow their master. The tree that flourishes throughout times of drought is planted near the running waters, taking in God’s love and continually bears fruit that can be shared by all those who pass by.

Acknowledging that we receive everything and are not the source of our own lives, and thus gratefully share all our fruit seems the lesson. What the world would be like if enough live like this!  Homeland security would mean people would 1st of all have the security of a home, and enough to eat.


February 24, 2013



On the 2nd Sunday of Lent in 1950 I was led with several others up a winding road to the top of the hill where we had a commanding view of the Little Miami River Valley in Foster, Ohio. My heart was full of wonder and connection between nature and our liturgical year.

We read the Sunday gospel again about another walk up a mountain, the story of Jesus and 3 apostles going up to the mountain of Transfiguration in Palestine/Israel. These apostles were the same 3, Peter, John and James, who eventually went with Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane the day before he died. Apparently they had the same problem here as they did there, falling asleep.

This time they woke utterly astonished to see Jesus “… with his face changed and his clothing dazzling white and 2 men conversing with him, Moses and Elijah who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” Luke 9

In the history of the evolution of Lent, I understand this is given us on the 2nd Sunday as encouragement to be steadfast in the observance of the discipline of Lent. Last Sunday we went with Jesus into the desert where he faced temptations not unlike the ones we face. So now we need encouragement that we’re on the right path practicing the themes of Lent – prayer, fasting, almsgiving. The meaning of Lent is Metanoia – a “total turning around” toward God. We want to be ready to be with Jesus more fully as we move through those final days of his life, the agony and torture of good Friday, the emptiness of Saturday and the climax of it all – the triumph of Resurrection. This is focused during the review of our sacred history and the renewal of our baptismal covenant with the divine at the Easter vigil. It is hoped that in ritually celebrating such profound mysteries with our hearts open and ready, their power will pierce through our everydayness and truly transform our lives, that we too will triumph over death. “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body…” Phil 3

The 1st reading is about the covenant God makes with Abraham, a bond which God will never break, and that he offers to each of us. GN 1

I was struck as though I never heard it before by the use of the actual word “Exodus” in relation to Jesus passage through death to the fullness of life. It is usually used in relation to the Passover which this year is celebrated during the same week as the Latin calendar’s Holy Week.

May all of us pass over from our small daily falls from greatness, our little falls from loving service, to embracing the exuberant fullness of a life of giving and surrender each precious day!


To follow the daily readings of the Catholic liturgical year:



February 17, 2013

I was 18, and eager to be trained to a deeper spiritual life. Not wanting to be a nun, I found a place where this could happen within my Catholic tradition, as a laywoman. I wanted to be effective to help change the world that even in 1950 seem to need a sort of spiritual revolution to transform the materialism that was consuming us after the WWII Western victory in 1945.

On Ash Wednesday, as Lent began, I was privileged to go to a small farm on a very steep hill with a group of 15. On the morning of this 1st Monday of Lent I had the job to feed the male goat and male sheep who grazed alone on the lower hill, segregated substantially from the ewes and nannies on the upper hill.

I carried 2 buckets of grain, opened the gate and placed one bucket in front of the goat, Solomon, and another in front of the sheep whose name, if I ever knew it, disappeared from mind long ago. Not so Solomon! As soon as I stepped back from the sheep, Solomon raced over, butted the sheep out of the way, ate his food and then sauntered back to his own bucket. Wow! I learned there that I had to hold Solomon, smelly male goat that he was, so the sheep could eat.

After doing my chores I went inside to join the group of 15 as we stood around and read the Scripture readings for the day to prepare for our trek to Mass. I don’t remember the 1st reading, but the power of the 2nd from the gospel of Matthew was indelible. MT 25:31-46

It was the parable about the last judgment and the difference between sheep and goats.

This was sure something to put into the marrow of my being. There the message still ignites. It is what we read still today, on this 1st Monday of Lent 2013.

Gratitude from NJ to Texas and vice versa in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy!

November 9, 2012

November 8, 2012

A delightful New Jersey – Texas encounter this morning on the corner of Elm Street and Elmwood Avenue!

Finally a crew came to deal with a tree that blocked the street and corner since Sandy. The residents of the corner apartment building and some further toward Bloomfield Avenue were without power for 10 days and it is very cold. (I have been very blessed, only a few hours out of power!)

I awoke to about 8 inches of snow bending branches to the ground and blocking sidewalks. So I shoveled my walk, cut branches and walked to my St.Peter Claver church around the corner to see the needs there. A hard hat crew-man met me, he saw me shoveling and thought he would come and help, but I had done enough.  He was from Wisconsin. I told him I’d be back in an hour and would love to give him and the crew a nice hot healthy tea and  organic cereal breakfast at my house if they would like. He thought that would be lovely, “If they had time.”

I got to the church, did some shoveling there and visited with Father Carlson.

When I went back to the tree job, I talked to other crewmen who were now there. They were grateful for the invite but said they didn’t have time. This crew was from Texas and were the electrical linemen replacing the telephone pole which broke in half dropping a transformer and cables into the street. And there was one from Arizona! I was told my Wisconsin man was part of the earlier tree crew. Sorry I missed him.

Arriving home with no breakfast customers I puzzled what I could do for a little thank you.  “Hope For the Flowers” to the rescue. I thought there were 4 of them, but brought 8 just in case. When I arrived it was a delicate moment. A huge cherry picker truck was backing in to raise the new pole so I waited and watched, not wanting to bother them or make them worried that I might get hurt. When a crewman came near me I gave him a bag of 4 books especially autographed from New Jersey to Texas. “For each of them and their families.”  The next thing I knew a man appeared with Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee so the fellows took a break. A local neighbor and I joined the comraderie. The operations manager, Joel Michna, appeared and got a book too. The neighbor also asked if she could have one. Good thing I brought 8!

There were 60 from Texas in this crew and 40 more Texans on a separate crew. more than 4000 out of state and 700 NJ workers in our PSE&G service area. Quite a thing to think about the organization of it all.  These men all drove up and were living in a hotel at the airport but were now transferred to a New Brunswick hotel even though they were still going to be working in Montclair. That’s pretty far away! They told us that they had one very trying experience on a mountain in Caldwell. Everybody laughed, because we call it a hill and they call such things mountains. One of them advised that we get rid of all the trees which cause so much damage, and we laughed again.  They also don’t have “this white stuff!” which you see in the background.

It was a lovely morning, and I was emailed this neat picture and note too!


P.S. Joel had the picture taken and is in the middle.
 Nov 8, 2012, at 2:54 PM, Michna, Joel D. wrote:

Trina, we truly appreciated the kindness you and your friend exhibited to us ole Texas boys! We take great pride in the fact that we are fortunate enough to be able to utilize our skills to help those affected by Sandy. Thank you for the hot coffee, doughnuts, and especially the copy of your masterpiece. We agreed that we would always have a couple of friends in New Jersey. Thank you again and God Bless!
Joel Michna
Operations Manager
Cypress Service Center
Distribution Power Delivery
Centerpoint Energy
” The more you take responsibility for your past and present,
  the more you are able to create the future you seek”

Egypt – “Like a Knight in Shining Armour”

February 13, 2011

“I don’t worry about the wounds.  When I go up there, which is my intention, the Big Judge will say to me, Where are your wounds?  and if I say I haven’t any, he will say, Was there nothing to fight for?  I couldn‘t face that question.”     Alan Paton, “Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful

These astonishing weeks in Egypt, I think have revealed many knights, females and males, young and old, educated in schools and educated by life. Thinking about this great and peaceful revolution, and the struggle ahead to make it real in the lives of everyone, reminds me of what happened in South Africa. Let’s pray that the resolve to create a democracy in Egypt, that is real for all, succeeds, and shines steadily as a beacon for the world.

The quote above comes from a story about an encounter in apartheid South Africa where the cost of freedom was and is so high. Thinking about that situation and Egypt, helps put my own cares in clearer perspective and nudges me into considering more daring action. The situation of South Africa was always for me a portrayal, on a smaller scale, of the situation today, existing in the whole world. A small but technically advanced minority keeping the majority in a semi-slave condition.  Nelson Mandela was a hero in daring to love past all the grievous past.  And there were many other heroes of every color, who struggled and died there. They are shining Knights.  These weeks in Egypt have witnessed the birth of many more!

Alan Paton’s “Cry the Beloved Country”, was important  for me years ago. Anne Hope, a white South African, banned from her home country because she broke the  color line, read the book outloud one September as the rest of us cut up a million apples on a farm in Ohio. One of its lines is the text of one of my published peace posters.

“I have one great fear in my heart, that one day,

when they have come to loving,

we will have come to hating.”

words of an African minister.

Asmaa Mahfouz & the YouTube Video that Helped Spark the Egyptian Uprising

February 12, 2011

Asmaa Mahfouz & the YouTube Video that Helped Spark the Egyptian Uprising

The role of Egyptian women in this revolution and on the media which reported it seems extraordinary. It totally confounds the stereotypes we have of women in that part of the world. Veiled completely, partially veiled, headscarves, no veils at all – the women were there and in some places seemed to be leading. It was remarkable to witness this and to hear them tell that there was no sexual harassment at all, amid that incredible gathering of thousands and even millions who stood side-by-side in Liberation, Tahrir, Square, for 18, long 24-hour days.

Tonight I looked up on Google to attempt to find the video I found most moving, the one that seemed to spark this vast revolution to free a people oppressed for so long. I am attempting to put it on this blog, but in case it doesn’t work, here is the link. This is the version that contains three videos by this remarkable young woman.

May we each have a share of her courage, and stand up for what we believe!

Egypt – a Revolution in Hope – Not Violence

February 11, 2011

Insha allah! God willing! In the name of God the merciful and compassionate. Let this revolution of hope be a beacon for the world.

Have you ever seen such rejoicing as the scenes today in Egypt? I haven’t, especially among so many, so uncountably many?

As someone who worked in Egypt and loved the people and was sorrowfully evacuated at the end of the Six-Day War in 1967 these days have been very gripping to me.

I’ve been checking on my computer for news as soon as I get up in the morning and again sneaking a peak during the day and again in the evening. It is been an emotional roller coaster. I discovered Al Jazeera for the first time, that’s Al Jazeera English, since my Arabic is very little and not the written kind. What excellent and balanced coverage, not at all like the media here tends to make it seem like. I also have been accessing most mornings at eight and sometimes during the day to see their take on what is happening in Egypt.

These beautiful and openhearted people who managed to keep violence out of their protest and show something to the world that was really never seen before in terms of such a mass of people so peaceful and yet so determined to end injustice and create democracy.

Don’t let anyone tell you this is an Islamic plot. It is a cry of a suppressed people for freedom, ready to risk a lot because of an oppression that began before most of them were born.

The spirit in the streets is the one that I knew in Egypt where a woman at that time was safe to travel alone at night. I have beautiful stories from Egypt. One time I was riding the train from Ramses Station in downtown Cairo to the suburb of Mataria where I lived when not in upper Egypt where I ordinarily worked. A loud whistle indicating sundown and the ending of the Ramadan fast sounded. Lunches and treats in celebration from the fasting people appeared seemingly from nowhere and everyone wanted to share with each other, and with non-fasting me, clearly a foreign woman.

Another poignant memory was during the first week I was in Akhmim the 4000-year-old city I would come to love. Gail, who had already been in Egypt for years and spoke perfect Arabic, was taking me around to visit some families of the girls we had been working with. The streets are narrow with the walls of houses on either side. We came to a small passage and started inside when a young girl, maybe seven, pushed by us with happy flashing eyes to run out into the street. She came rushing back shortly carrying a little piece of paper with something wrapped in it. We’ve moved through the our winding alley and came to a woman dressed in black holding a little tray with two small glasses of tea on it. It was strong, sweet, typical Egyptian tea. I learned that probably that little girl had been sent by her mother when she heard that we were visiting, to buy that little bit of tea or sugar for us for a few pennies.

I was with a generous people who were poor, but willing to share what little they had. I learned much from them.

I rejoice with them today. Let’s say with them the prayer that is the custom to say when beginning so many things from meals to meetings.

” In the name of God, the compassionate and merciful.” May this revolution, accomplished without violence by such an overwhelming number of people bring about a new way to to see what true democracy looks like.

Insha allah! God willing! Let this revolution of hope be a beacon for the world.