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Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Daughter's Graditude on FATHER'S DAY



September 1945
Dad on leave,
with his three children 


Daniel F. Baugniet served in the military during WWII. Though Daniel never saw combat, he fully realized what was expected of soldiers, and the likelihood of his being shipped to a warfront. His first cousin had joined the Army in 1941, and received the Purple Heart after being seriously wounded.

While my father served in the military, my mother accepted the responsibility of maintaining a normal home life. Once the war ended, Dad arrived home safely. He was prepared once again to support and care for his family, which had increased to four children upon my birth in late 1945.


Dad holding Gail while wading
in the cold water of Lake Michigan
1947 
Although soft-spoken, Dad's infectious laughter sent a wave of smiles around the room at any gathering. Throughout his life, he was affectionately known to family and friends as Danny. He was from "the old school" where the salary of a 40-hour a week job was supplemented by part time jobs, and grocery store foods were complemented by wildlife, fresh fish, and home-raised chickens.

His family never experienced hunger, or a lack of desserts. Dad loved to finish off meals with something sweet. We didn't know we were "spoiled" with daily helpings of ice cream, homemade pies, and bakery goods. Sunday morning breakfast meant bacon and eggs, topped off with frosted coffee cake with raisins.

If he wasn't working or fishing, Dad spent his time maintaining or fixing things around the house. Then he started building and selling residential homes on property we had called "the back yard" most of our lives. Saturday night was about the only time he relaxed in front of the television. He enjoyed watching boxing, and later on, wrestling.


50th Wedding Anniversary

Dad died in 2004. I am extremely grateful that I was granted the opportunity to know my father and enjoy his love and quiet sense of humor for almost sixty years.



KNOWING FULFILLMENT: Poem #45 from Another New Beginning

45
Knowing Fulfillment
 
Taffita of ice blue; white embroidered
swirls, boat neck collar. Outer trappings
tell the world. Today, her day, brings
Fulfillment 

In church, younger cousins nod, envious
until their turn arrives; Older relatives
offer knowing smiles while
melting wax mingles with the fragrance
of simple wooden pews infused with
years of trailing incense. 

Will she remain faithful,
renounce, surrender
in belief and obedience? 

Strength conferred
by gnarled hands laid on.
Confirmation
of a good life ahead.
 


Dressed to represent a bride of Christ, a baptized child receives the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation.

When a child is born in the Catholic faith, Baptism is the first sacrament received. Baptism is the one sacrament that all Christian denominations share in common. In the Catholic Church, infants are baptized to welcome them into the Catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with.

From the dawn of Christian history, Baptism and Confirmation have been very closely associated. Confirmation is defined as the sacrament of spiritual strengthening. More concretely, Confirmation strengthens the supernatural life we receive in Baptism. Confirmation increases our sanctifying grace in every way, but mainly in deepening our capacity to remain spiritually alive. It gives us the power of resistance, the ability to resist dangers, and the strength to become more Christ-like until the dawn of eternity.

The above poem, Knowing Fulfillment, describes my remembrance of a day set aside to celebrate the strengthening of my belief in Jesus Christ. For me, as a young girl, it also meant wearing a beautiful new dress hand-crafted by my artistic mother, a fancy cake designed in the shape of a bible, and relatives gathered in love.
 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

POSSIBILITIES: Poem #44 from Another New Beginning


#44
Possibilities 
 

Happiness bubbles up from
a cauldron of endless possibilities,
giving rise to celebrations
only imagination can provide. 

At sunrise, reach for the sky
atop Mount Haleakala,
or from the comfort of
your own back yard. 

Drink sparkling liquid
laced with fresh-peeled lychee
while relaxing in the sensual
jet stream of a soothing hot tub. 

Hear the waves splashing along
Atlantic and Pacific shores; dance
flamenco in Madrid; enjoy the swans
in Brugge and Boston Common. 

All this, and more, isn’t
happiness realized;
knowing you can dream
is the true fulfillment. 

 
This is one of those prose poems that needs little explanation beyond the reader's own interpretation.

Pleasure is often derived from lingering upon memories that once brought happiness. But the knowledge that you can continue to find happiness in everyday life, without chasing rainbows or searching for pots of gold, is what truly matters.

Knowing that contentment is within easy reach, within yourself, is happiness realized.