Homecoming 2013 was a success!!!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in the homecoming celebration.

Those of us who participated had a great time and are already looking forward to next year. I am going to try to attach pictures to this blog for your enjoyment. If I am not able to do so, please check my Facebook page as they are posted there as well.

As if the homecoming activities weren’t enough the many of the same folks staged another great event on Sunday to honor the scholarship donors and recipients.

Thanks to everyone involved especially alumni and students, staff and faculty, Institutional Advancement, Norman Worthington Conference Center Staff, Bon Apetite, Recreation Center staff, Members of the Monastic community and the administration, trustees and particularly the donors.

This is a great place to come home to and I hope everyone feels welcome back any time.



Things I will or do miss at Saint Martin’s on a daily basis.

At the end of this calendar week I will no longer have office space at Saint Martin’s University. I will be fully retired (a year and a month since my retirement as registrar)as the day is getting close, I have been trying to take note of all the people and things I will and do miss. So far I have a list of things to that start my work day. I chose to put them in my blog and when I need reminders of why I spent over 1/2 of my life here. Not all are good or bad they just are.

Driving north College Street (still convinced it is south) assessing the change of seasons by the color of the trees and the amount of daylight or dark during the drive

Watching the lady with the stick (cane) march in the opposite direction with a force to take on the world

Turning right at Abbey Way, when it was 6th Avenue or just the road to campus

Watching for deer (as many as 12), squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks , regular monks  and for one fall season Ed the Elk

Driving up Abbey Way in the fog hung low over the meadow and it felt like a mystery was about to be revealed

Seeing the moon between the trees in all of the stages and being awe-struck the morning the moon appeared just above the morning star (venus) between the trees on Abbey Way and having only my mind’s eye camera to capture the image

Parking in the “lower lot” just in front of the station of the cross

Passing Lynch Center when it was still an infirmary and throughout the myriad of purposes from development office to it’s current purpose counseling center. I am sure there had been a lot of counseling in there before as well

Seeing the early blooming bulb plants sprout and watching the growth, heralding spring and giving me the comfort that spring would soon be here. In another way as I watch the rhododendrons bud up and bloom the comfort would change to anxiety as it heralded the coming of graduation and all that it meant

Parking in the water tower lot with my permission slip from the Abbot (which I will keep )

Waiting to let the monks pass from prayers to breakfast with furtive waves, head nods and smiles because they do not speak until after they break fast but they want me to know they see me

Waiting for the new elevator (newer than 1982 ) and riding to the second floor with apologies to anyone going higher

Alumni pictures on the walls of 2nd Floor Old main. Those photos not only held their own memories but they know a lot more about me than most living souls as I talked to them each morning to let them know how I was doing and what was going on around campus. Orin Hebert, Fr. Christopher, Fr. Meinrad, Fr. Gerard, Fr. Kilian, Abbot Neal, Dr. Ishii, Les Bailey, John Gallagher and all of the classes from 1982 – 2001, I will miss each of you

Opening the office door to find that I had or had not left the window open (that which wasn’t the expected thing to do based on the weather)

I still miss looking at my gallery of globes in my old office room 257 Old Main, many gifts and with special histories and memories

Being pulled from moment of contemplation of my gallery of globes by the smell of food of food and especially to bacon and bread baking beneath my office. Sully, Dave O’Hara, Bill Sibbers, James Jones, Kevin, Betty Helein, Dave Boren who were before and Tonya, Maria, Amanda, CaroleAnn and others in Saint Gertrude’s Café their smiles and good wishes and of course fresh brewed iced tea and strawberries.

Riding in the Old Elevator to the 2nd floor and often selecting the floor 1 or any floor I was standing on and standing alone wondering why it wasn’t going anywhere

Recalling that when the elevator was first installed students or monks (maybe) took some pleasure in placing a 4 foot statue of St. Joseph in the elevator. I’m not sure what happened to St Joseph but if the student/monks are amused by the recollection as I it was in good humor

I think I am going to have to create several more posts to have a complete list and i won’t even try to mention all the individuals I have missed and will miss there are way too many. Just know that if you have touched Saint Martin’s or Saint Martin’s has touch you, you are or you will be missed.


Homecoming this weekend

The Super Bowl is over and those who care have determined which commercials the like and don’t like. The team we cheered for either won or lost but provided a good game for watching. The black out reminded me of some of the earlier days at Saint Martin’s when our power would go out. I suppose we could claim it was an abnormality but more often it was caused by one too many heaters or fans. I was victim or recipient of more than my share of blackouts as the power to my office was tied in with the power in food service and if the toaster or any other electrical device caused a black out in the kitchen I too would be in darkness. I learned where the circuit breaker was and I would routinely open the cabinet and flip the switch.

I recall one black out that almost cost one of the maintenance workers his life, when he cut into a live wire at the Abbey Theatre and shut down all campus power for the rest of the day. The worker wasn’t permanently scarred but he did wander around a little buzzed now and then. 🙂 We faced several black outs from storms, fires and earthquakes during my years. I could say that we came out a little bit better after each repair.

Stop and think about the size of old main and the numbers of renovations it has experienced. Some of the earlier renovations without clear paths of change. They may have discovered some of the issues this fall when they redid the courtyard. I watched with fascination as they sorted through the pipes and conduits and roots in an attempt to open a new space. I also recall the post- fire, flood and earthquake renovations and the interest with which contractors approached their tasks never really sure what they might find in the power boxes, behind the walls and in the floor joists. A recent renovation uncovered some hand written assignments and maybe even a love not. I guess it just goes to show you that Saint Martin’s hasn’t become its current self without a lot of changes and remodling. In the world today that is the reality, change, progress and growth.

Homecoming activities are almost here. I really look forward to seeing some of you at some of the events. It will be great fun recalling old stories and comparing changes, progress and growth (maybe not so much growth as it seems to be more horizontal than veritical for some of us). I hope you bring your families or at the very least pictures on your smartphones, iphones, ipads or tablets. I am equally anxious to show you around campus. Andrew Moyer has reserved a 6 passenger golf cart for my use on that day and after the alumni games and before the Hall of Fame and Honor I will be hosting my own tour of campus for those of you not ready to do a “jogging tour”. I can tell you their is a lot to see. We will end our tour at the baseball game.

At the Hall of Fame/Hall of Honor we will be honoring two outstanding members of our track teams, Andy Prentice and Emily (Thomas) Shipman and Hall of honor will honor Dr. David Spangler and Adolfo Capestany and from the high school, Hugh Antonson and Jack Sareault. It will be a full day with pep rally and GNAC basketball games for women and men. I hope to see you there.

I suppose I should get busy preparing for all the excitment. If you are still looking for blogged informatinon Kyle Karnofsky current men’s basketball has just launched Kyle’s Korner http://smusaints.blogspot.com/, I encourage you to check it out.

Until next time.



Looking forward through a memory glass

Well it has been two weeks since my last post and I am still having difficulty chosing a topic for my blog. Last year was spent processing my retirement and reflecting on some of the great memories and I started this year looking to the future. I expect to find that this year will be a little of both. Yesterday it snowed a little and I thought maybe we would have another delayed opening of Spring Semester but I think that may be a once in a lifetime experience.

We are into the new year and in fact the students and faculty are back in their places with shiny bright faces…… ok that is a stretch but they are back and Old Main is alive again. It gets pretty quiet around here without the students and the faculty.

Guess what, I don’t care which classroom is double booked or why an instructor is not able to locate the class lists. It is odd to pass someone in the hall and not be able to direct him to his classroom. I kinda miss having the faculty wander in and out of my office pleading for different spaces to teach but I am pleased things are working out. There is a bit of remorse when a student asks me to adjust her schedule and I have to say, that is not my job. Yeah, I miss being the registrar but I am pleased to continue my involvement with this place called Saint Martin’s.

I am trying to attach a few photos to highlight some of the changes on campus just this last six – eight months. Please forgive the roughness of the photos as I took them with my smartphone and realize that it is smarter than I am by a long shot.

Cebula Hall from 4th Floor Old Main
Courtyard before construction: May 30, 2012
Trees before cutting: May 30, 2012
Courtyard after first cut; May 31, 2012
Courtyard October 2011
Courtyard open December 21, 2012
Courtyard fountain, December 21, 2012

Just last week we learned that a grant request to submitted to Norclifte Foundation of Seattle prepared by Rebecca Sill, Rosanne Nichols, Zella Kahn-Jetter and others was approved. With this grant the engineering initiative will be complete. Congratulations to everyone involved. I think the next big project will be a building for science and technology, all of you folks who spent many hours in the various science labs in Old Main should be interested the development of the plans, stay tuned.

Homecoming is no longer creeping up on us but it is almost here February 7-9. I sincerely hope that you are able to attend some or all of the events. For more information and registration please check on line: http://www.stmartin.edu/alumni/getInvolved/homecoming.

Basketball is well underway with a couple of home games this week, Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday the teams are hoping for a “white out” (no not another snow delay) I think the intent is for all Saint Martin’s fans to wear white to the game. I hope to see some of you there.

Sorry for the lack of words in this blog, don’t get used to it. I am sure I will be my wordy self again soon.


Here’s. . . . 2013

Thanks for the memories, 2012. As with all of the years before they will be cherished and pondered for the years to come.

We are in 2013 with a whole new year to make new memories.

A new year with a raft of new adventures and experiences. It is fun to look forward to a year without planning for registration, add/drop, graduation applications, spring break, course offerings for the fall, baccalaureate and commencement, summer sessions and a new academic year in August. Oh, they will still happen but I don’t have to plan them. I get to look forward to GNAC basketball games, women and men, baseball and softball games (I can attend), I could even show up at a golf match (I don’t think they welcome vocal fans at such things, “hit again, hit again, harder, harder” takes on a different meaning when one is trying tee off or so I have been told. 🙂

I have the opportunity to attend a lot of events just because I want to and to support the friends I have made. Special performances and lectures for the music department held during the day. I could even sit in on one of Fr George’s, Fr Gerard’s, Fr Kilian’s, Br Aelred’s, lectures just to find out what they really have to say. I am sorry Br. Boniface’s Spanish class will have to wait, I still am afraid of Spanish. 🙂 and those are just the monks. The door opens wide for the rest of the classes. I wonder what Dr. Carol Overdeep or Dr. Mead would do if they spotted me in class. Who knows the opportunities are endless and I don’t have to worry about what classroom is open, I just go where the schedule says.

This year’s homecoming gives a chance to see and visit with alumni and their families. O’Blarney’s on Friday, Feb 8 for all alumni with special focus on the ’88,’03,’08 grads and Saturday Feb 9 starts at 10 a.m. in Marcus Pavilion with “pick up”game for alums still willing to get on the court or just pick up a few snacks and catch up with teammates and their families. I plan to spend the rest of the day giving tours, exploring classes without quizzes, enjoying the presentations at the Hall of Fame / Hall of Honor, maybe a baseball game (depends on the weather for me anyway) basketball games both women and men and a reception / pep rally for alumni. I will probably have to go to bed for a week after that.

The rest of the staff will head off with President Heyenderickx to Palm Springs for the Annual Desert rendezvous for Alumni and Friends on February 15 – 18.

Check the website for more details: http://www.stmartin.edu/alumni/getInvolved/

Who knows what I might do in March, it is the month to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day….. mmm. I know that on April 22 the formal dedication of Cebula Hall will take place and I really hope to see engineering alumni return to see what their patience and efforts have allowed Saint Martin’s to build.

Then in May….. well you might see me at the Commencement if I can get a ticket as there are still a lot of friends completing degrees.

Who said I was leaving Saint Martin’s? Guess they didn’t have a clue.

Thanks again for letting me be part of This Place Called Saint Martin’s. It is not only a place where “we learn to learn, it is home” (Abbot Timothy Kelly)

Blessings for an exciting 2013.
(Thirteen is my father’s favorite number, he would have been 100)

Merry Christmas 2012

Christmas brings lots of memories but one personal memory each Christmas eve my family sat in our living room and read Luke’s account of the first Christmas, we sang carols and then we read several different Christmas stories or poems. The following are my favorite. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a look forward to a peaceful 2013 (more about that next week 🙂
May you find blessings in each day you live.

“Never a Christmas morning,
Never the old year ends….
But someone thinks of someone
Old days, old times, old friends”

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the son of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he became a wandering preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of those things one usually associates with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through a mockery of a trial. He was executed by the state. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.

Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote The Sun’s response to Virginia.

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

And the memories go on….

I have been “pondering” lots of things since last week and as I write about them I am sure I will repeat myself or forget a very important event.  The nice things about blogs, you can correct or add to your previous posts and even change history if necessary. I may have mentioned some of this earlier when I was posting on Facebook, I am too lazy to check.  🙂 

My earliest memory is of Br.Lawrence delivering a one step above Charlie Brown Tree to Marie Legaz, then registrar.  The tree was set up and decorated with lights and ornaments and you could almost forget it was slight of branches.  This year was also the year Fr. Gerard collapsed at the counter when I asked him to sniff my bird (it was a cinnamon scented candle in the shape of a bird).  Br.Lawerence played a big part in that first Christmas as it was the year he explained how the Angel ended up on top of the tree.  Shirley Crews, bookstore manager had a pre-Christmas dinner party in the bookstore before we gathered with the monks in the cafeteria for Christmas dinner.  Years prior to my arrival there are stories of gifts of cheese, turkeys and hams to the staff and faculty. I arrived late for that.

Other early Christmas memories include the number of Christmases when I served as Mrs. Claus to a  number of  Mr. Santas, most notably with Fr. Kevin Myles, Dave Boren, Myron Apilado, Andrew Moyer,  Fr. Edward  and some professional “ringer” from off campus that I never saw again.  Some still say Mrs. Clause could never keep a man.  I guess they were right but I had a good time when we were together. Fr. Kevin and I were the most daring and dashing as we worked the cafeteria and then drove to the SUB to distribute gifts to the students.  Some of you know what I mean when I say “ we drove..  :)”.

Amy’s birthday is today 12/20 and when she was young Larry and I  held open house to celebrate her and the holidays and since I had become part Saint Martin’s friends would stop by to share some Sangria or Hot Buttered Rum or Egg nog and treats and visit.  Fr. George would play the piano and after singing Happy Birthday to Amy the guest gathered around to sing Christmas Carols while the fire placed glowed.  Warmth filled the house, warmth of friendship. 

Our house wasn’t the only off campus Saint Martin’s celebrations, dear Dr. Bailey hosted many Christmas parties for the faculty.  Les had a passion for lights on his tree and even before it became fashion his 6 foot Doug Fir emitted enough light to read “A Christmas Carol” without any other illumination.  One would never turn down a party invitation to Dr. Bailey’s as he was an amazing cook and really knew how to feed his friends.  It was someone common to end the party at Les’s with friendly games of Bridge, art there such things?  Well we tried but a few drinks often brought out the real competitors and for awhile we had to restrict the players to neophytes.  I ask you to pause here for a moment to recall your memories of Les Bailey, his life, his food and most of all his amazing friendship.  There are few to equal his love of Saint Martin’s.  His body left us 2 years ago on Christmas eve but his presence will remain on campus and in Old Main.  

A celebration that stood apart from the Christmas celebrations was the celebration of the birthday of a dear friend Holly Harmon.  Holly had been blessed with a birthday on Dec 24.  It was important to her family and friends that her birthday be defined separate from Christmas.  For several years a group of us would meet at a restaurant in downtown Olympia and share an hour or two celebrating our friend, Holly.  It was a great break for all of us to recall that many wonderful things happen during December besides the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations.  This year plans have been made to revive the tradition and we will meet on Monday for just that.  Thanks Holly for being born.  🙂

Another standard Christmas eve party was hosted by Carl and Kathy Manning, often in the form of a Christmas eve dinner prepared oh so carefully and well, 20 or so guests would gather around the expandable round table and by candlelight appreciate the homemade bread and amazing meal.  No matter what was going on at Saint Martin’s this tradition continued with special candlesticks made by Kathy’s mother and special ornaments each year for CP, Pat and Anna.  Many of us would relax after dinner sipping wine and sharing stories until 10 when those of us who planned to attend Christmas Mass at the Abbey Church would gather our goodies and coats and head up the highway to secure our chairs at the Abbey Church.

An important element of Christmas day was celebration with family.  After Larry and I moved to the Olympia the Conley Christmas’s were a bit scarce but the Law family celebrations were held at 5942 E Sarazen St for the next 30 “odd” years.  Odd years do not reference 3,5,7,9,11 etc but the other sense of Odd.  New traditions were added and some older revived.  Our Christmas trees always had cherish treasures and one new ornament each year for each member of the family.You can  imagine the number or perhaps count the number of ornament that covered our trees as the years passed, a great excuse for always getting a tree that touched the ceiling.  In 1978 or 79, “Grandma Navarro” joined our celebration as the Von Neudeggs joined in and added to our Christmas.  Grandma Navarro brought “Christmas Crackers” from London and each of the guests popped open the “cracker” and found a small toy, a joke or proverb and a tissue hat.  The hat was worn during the dinner.  This tradition continues today even though the celebration has moved to Seattle and Amy is in charge, we will all have “crackers” and we will wear the hats and laugh at the jokes and proverbs.  As mentioned in earlier posts “traditions” can be good things.

Christmas celebrations didn’t end until the ornaments on the tree were removed and packed away and the tree recycled.  At the Law house that happened on the 1st of January while watching  football.  The weeke between Christmas and New Year was peppered with small parties or get togethers.

One of the favorite parties was hosted by Rebecca “Becky” Wonderly on New Years eve and many of the folks from Saint Martin’s attended with others of her friends and family.  I recall the sense of wonder as we would come into her house always a beautiful Nobel Fir with ornaments spaced beautifully and lights twisted carefully around the branches.  The arch or entry to her dining room was framed with shiny silver Christmas bell-balls that she had been given by her father throughout the years.  The house was warm and welcoming with the smell of cookies and candles and a warm fire in the fireplace.  Thank Becky you planted seeds of love full of wonderful memories that have lasted for years. 

After Amy left home to establish and build traditions of her own, I have gradually reduced my home decorating,  On the first year I was on my own, I was anything but on my own.  I had adopted a new family and had become not only Mrs. Claus of Saint Martin’s but Mutha Security.   As Christmas approached and decorations went up in our makeshift Records Office in South Park, I shared my concern about decorating my house.  The student staff of Security Office offered to help out and they came to my house on the Sunday before finals to accomplish the tasks that seemed impossible.  Jonathan Sprouffske donated his tree from the Sprouffske Tree Farm, Igor Srenk hung the lights on the tree (remember it had to touch the ceiling)  Jonathan Sprouffske donated his tree from the Sprouffske Tree Farm, Igor Srenk  hung lights outside and on the bushes (I think there may still be a string attached as they were very diligent).  Stephanie Day, Kate Lasko, Heather Stoltz and others assembled the decorations inside the house.  “Extended family” took on a new meaning and to this day my heart warms as I recall the specialness of the people and the time.  The Security family really help carry me through a rough period in my life that many of you have heard me refer to as the Reign of Terror.  Lots of changing and growing occurred throughout the campus and best of all the Saint survived.

I almost forgot to mention the joy of celebrating in the music building (maintenance building to many) with Br. Aelred, Br. Elias and Andrew.  Singing or listening to them sing and enhancing their repetoire with great works of  “I Want a Hippopotumus for Christmas” and the notable “Suzy Snowflake”. I mention the fun songs because everyone knows their ability with the classics but I may be the only person who has heard Br. Aelred sing “Here Comes Suzy Snowflake”  and I treasure that memory along with many others that will be mentioned in future blogs, great people, even greater friends.  🙂

Before I close my Christmas memories I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of the wonderful people who worked with me in the Registrar/Records Office.  Decorating and singing and sharing and loving This Place I call home.  Debbie Long, Br Ramon Newell, Satch Tapango, Laurie St. Ours, Renee Burden, Gail, Jennifer McGee, Kelle Peterson, Kirsten Chase, Tammy Jutte, Kim Hamilton and Ronda Vandergriff.  I was afraid to include work study (other than Debbie Long) as I know I would miss some, but if you worked with us you know who you are and I do appreciate you.  Your patience help and love and perseverance made so much difference.  You are each special gifts with your own special memories in my life.

Well I am late in posting this blog post and it has run on longer than I intended but once I started remembering I just couldn’t forget and it was therapeutic to put them to paper.

Christmas is special as the reason for the season but it is truly the special moments we share with our friends and families that keep the celebrations and memories alive.

Thank you.

Merry Christmas

(Happy New Year next week 🙂




Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart”

Recently I have been reflecting on the days of Christmas past. Recalling the excitement and joy which led up to the holiday, all the preparations, cards, cooking, shopping, shopping, shopping and wrapping.  Decorating the house using the ornaments and decorations passed down from parents and grandparents and placing them in the right spot in the house at the same time buying new decorations to use.  Finding a tree, from a lot, cut your own, it has to touch the ceiling (most of the time it not only touched but scraped the bumpy stuff off the ceiling), big enough for the ornament collections, from Larry’s and my childhoods to the extra special ones that have been purchased and made for Amy. The tree couldn’t go up before December 20 as that was Amy’s birthday a reason to celebrate unto itself with its own traditions. Christmases shared with family and friends.  British crackers introduced to our family from the Navarro’s and still requisite for Christmas dinner and yes you must wear the tissue crown. 

   I love viewing Christmas lights and decorations on the houses around town.  One of my favorite memories are the Christmas evenings that Amy and I would go to church at St. Johns Episcopal Church at 5:30.  When the service was over we would drive around Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater checking out the lights and displays. As we enjoyed the neighborhood lights we would deliver a plates of homemade cookies to our special friends, the Longs, the Kistlers, the Hammers, the Mannings, the Hugs and Burma. We charted our route so that we could make it to the Abbey Church by 10:30 to secure a place to enjoy the music of the Br Aelred, Fr. George and the Schola before midnight mass.  One of the early visits to the Abbey Church Christmas service we planned to stay for the service.  The seats filled quick and standing room only maxed out the alloted space.  Br. Ramon diligently sought spaces and carefully moved the standing to single seats scattered throughout the sanctuary.  The music was spectacular, Br. Ronald, Br. Elias, Br Andrew, Br James, Fr. George, all directed by Br. Aelred filled the sanctuary with amazing music.   As it time creeped slowly and closer to the start of mass it was apparent that the young children were more focused on post mass activities but just when it seemed that waiting had reached the limit, Fr. Kevin Myles  slipped quietly into the sanctuary.  He took the hand of one of the many children standing and/or sitting on their parents laps and led the children to the warm wood nativity crèche and encouraged others to join him on the floor sitting quietly while waiting for the mass for baby Jesus.   The quiet and reverence filled the space.  As the monks processed  an awareness of  something really important was about to happen. 

The remaining years we continued to repeat and add traditions and activities and special moments.  More recent holidays have changed and traditions and activities have declined. I have even wondered if all of the preparations and activities had really been necessary and perhaps I had placed emphasis in wrong places.  I have been less diligent about decorating and planning and buying and doing.  Until, while remembering  holidays past I thought  the Christmas right after my father died.  Amy and I flew to Saint Louis to be with my family.   Amy celebrated her 13th birthday at a pizza parlor and all of our other traditions took a new face.   My mother was a real stalwart and determined to make Christmas right for her family and she did.  My mother was a wise woman and when she and I talked of Christmas and its trimmings she assured me that I was making memories that had great value.  

Today I know what she meant and the value of memories and an appropriate quote of scripture comes to mind:

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Blessings to each of you and as Bob Hope said so often, “thanks for the memories“.


Don’t miss a single Saints game!!

OK so most of you know that I am a truly dedicated Saint Basketball fan.  I love the Saints and have followed them forever.  Last Saturday I was sick and not able to attend the Saints game at home against Northwest Nazarene.  I had heard rumors about the games being broadcast on-line but didn’t give much credence to the quality of the broadcast as my prior experience has been not acceptable.  I decided to try once more and this time from my Smartphone (yes I do have one and yes it is much smarter than me) you could even watch under the table at a dinner or at the fifth viewing of  Nutcracker  (just kidding).  I logged on to the Saint Martin’s website and opened the athletics page and found something that connected me to the game.  Brandon Sparks of OlySportsBlog.com called the game and the camera was placed directly behind my regular seat.  I watched the game in its entirety (should stopped with the tie :() in very clear steady stream.  I imagine if I had a tablet or iPad or wanted to sit at my computer the pictures would have been bigger (duh) but as sick as I was it was great to stay in the recliner and follow along.  I even zoomed in on faces a couple of time and it appeared that the No shave November continued into December.  Not sure if that is going to change when the guys go home, we shall see.

When I emailed the new SID Katie Simons to thank her she sent me a link that will allow me to watch all of the Saints (Men and Women) games on-line. http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/smusaints.portal#  there you go, now you too can catch Saints games from your recliner no matter where you are.  If you are in the area it is much better to watch live but this is an option.  In spite of the less than hoped for outcome of this game the Saints look really good again this year.  I hope that you will be able to make a game or two, especially the games on Feb 7 and Feb 9 for Homecoming.

This weekend Saint Martin’s with the support of Puget Sound Energy and L&E Bottling will be hosting a Jingle Bell Run 5K on Saturday, December 8.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the run begins at 10 a.m.  Even if you aren’t a runner or a walker you can stop by and be supportive, singing carols and encouraging the participants.  For more information check www.stmartin.edu/jinglebellrun

Tonight,  the 6th of December Saint Martin’s is hosting a Christmas sing along and Christmas tree blessing if you are interested please check http://noah.stmartin.edu/vtcal/main.php?view=event&eventid=1352838916270.  I can assure you the music you will be singing along with will be great.  Darrell Born and the Saint Martin’s Chorale are remarkable.

As you already know the busy time of the year is upon us.  This Friday is the Faculty and Staff Christmas Lunch which has become a time to look around and ask….. who are these people? There are so many new people and positions on campus and at the extension centers any event that brings us together is a great opportunity to catch up with the folks you haven’t seen since last year and to say hello to the new folks on board.  Of course the great question is who will be the hosts for next year and how will they find out?  Always a surprise.

The women’s team captured a win last night over PLU.  They will be in action next week in the SMU Tournament on the 14 and 15.

Next week is finals week. If you find your computer running slower than usual blame it on the exams.  Already Twitter is ablaze with lamentations and plans for the Christmas Break.  The men’s basketball team will be in Boca Raton, Florida on the 18th and 19th of December before they go home for the holidays, I imagine tans will still be present after the first of the year when they return for their next home game.

The next two weeks are not just about basketball as another 100 students will “get off the train” (Company reference) and graduate at the end of the semester.   A great way to celebrate the season and the reason for Saint Martin’s continued mission.  Congratulations to each of you.  You will be joining a list of proud individuals who are Saints.  I wish you success and happiness. 

This time of the year brings many memories from the Saint.  I have mentioned some before, parties with the monks, Irish Coffee with Terri Hebert, Kris Kringle in Campus Ministry for Faculty and staff.  The most memorable of those for me would be the year that Doug Ford had my name and I ended with a small bottle of Bacardi Rum and a Beta fish.   Kris Kringle was also responsible for several repeat gifts of overside chocolate bars, talking fish and the perennial white elephant and many others.Santa to the Christmas parties accompanied by Mrs. Clause on many occasions.  Mrs. Santa always remained the same but Santa took many forms, Fr. Kevin, Dave Boren, Andrew Moyer, Myron Apilado, Fr Edward and a few more that are hiding in my memory to come to mind in July.  Office decor like Halloween brought all kinds of creativity; entire office covered in sheets (from the res hall) for a white Christmas, Christmas around the world , favorite Christmas song  (some may recall  Suzy Snowflake) favorite Christmas movie, Christmas book (ie” Peef :)). home for the holidays which  brought to sight many of the traditions celebrated at Saint Martin’s.  More recently Saint Martin’s Chorus on Wheels with members of the chorus wheeling up and down the halls of Old Main on an upright piano spreading cheer among the staff and distraction in the classes.

Don’t consider this the last walk down memory lane about Christmas I still have three weeks.  I may even find some attachments and pictures to include.

For this week, may each of you be blessed by the joy of the season and the comforts of Christmases past.