18 February 2009

Why Gemstone Rosaries?

I have been making Rosaries for a while. Many years. and I have made them of probably every material imaginable. But gemstones have always spoken to me and I have always had a hard time pinning down why. It was always just something that meant something to me on a visceral level so I did it. I always thought it was just that gemstones are lovely and accepted that.

Recently, I had a small revelation. One of m suppliers is in Jerusalem and I asked them if they would do me a favor. I had them send me a jar of dirt form the road, a bottle of water from the Jordan and a bottle of Olive Oil. All three had been blessed at the Church of the Nativity. Maybe as close as I will ever come to that wonderful place. I took some of each of these elements and put them in small vials to give as gifts. And I mean very small. Maybe a tenth of an ounce each but very nice. Perhaps for hanging from a mirror.

My oldest daughter has recently become periodically interested in making some jewelry for herself. She knows to ask which stones she can use. One morning, she had a new bracelet. A Unakite oblong stone. Not one of my favorites but that is simply my taste. On that bracelet was one of the small vials of earth. My reaction was surprising to me. I asked her if she knew what it was and she didn’t. it was just dirt. “No,” I said, “this is part of a Holy place. It is not JUST dirt.”

My own intensity surprised me and I realized something in a flash. THIS is the source of my passion for stones. In my yard, I have stones from special places. When my father died, I traveled to Texas, to his childhood home and still his home when he died. His great grandparents had begun living there as part of the land grants and had been inhabited by his family since. I brought home four stones that day. two for him, from the creek in the pastures and two for his mother from the ruins of the foundation of the home in which he lived as a child. The home she made.

One of my father’s stones is now the base of a wired and beaded Bonsai tree I made and decorates my front yard. My grandmother’s stones are simply resting on my porch. I pass them every day, along with stones taken from the property my father in law owned in Georgia when he died and the stones from my husband’s grandmother’s home place in Kentucky, brought back to us by his uncles after she was buried there with their own hands.

Stones are just rocks. Or are they? Like the Holy Earth of Jerusalem or the stones from the homes of my families, I feel like stones hold essence. Enter any church. You FEEL the prescience in the stones of the walls. Old churches in Europe have paths worn in them from countless feet that have trod the aisles. Even if the stone is nothing but a rock, the symbology they are given in their use imbues power and the veneration over time grants spirituality.

So, when I make a Rosary from the materials of the Earth, stones and metals, whether fine, high end crystal clear gems, or simple Lava Rocks or pieces of rock picked up from a particular area, I always feel like they mean something. They carry the essence of the Earth with them and through time, the prayers said upon them make them venerated articles and, in a way, those many repeated prayers are stored in those stones. Never to be told but to be spiritually whispered to anyone who later holds them.

These little beads of faith are simple. Some ore rough, cloudy and low quality. Others are clear, fine and perfect. But each one carries an essence that it brings from the Earth and the love, spirit and holiness of those who use them in their devotions.

Stone are not just rocks. They have meaning. They impart the heart of the earth and the treasure of the beauty of God in all phases. Obviously quality makes a difference but I have seen treasured Rosaries made with seriously flawed stones. Perhaps, even though less expensive, those are the best of them. They may lose a chip, they may not reflect a perfect light, but they reflect the love and care of those who use them. The flaws reflect he flaws in us all.

Over the years, chips and worn spots are not losses to these stones but signs of devotion.

27 November 2008

The Rosary in Space and Time by Ruth Rees

For the past couple of days I have been reading a very good book, The Rosary in Space and Time by Ruth Rees. I have greatly enjoyed this book and cannot recommend it enough. I am hardly a scholar, theologian or rocket scientist. However, my interests include a constant interest in learning new things, a love of the Rosary and a passion for the wonder of Space. It has been my privilege to meet several of the incredible men who have been in space and to the Moon. They are truly inspiring.

I was once asked by where I was spiritually, did I have a religion and how was I with it. A good question for anyone. A good question to ask yourself on a regular basis, actually. At the time, I was reading an issue of Astronomy. There was a picture of an incredible nebula on the cover. I held it up and told my friend, look at this. It’s gorgeous. It is also immense. I cannot wrap my head around this unbelievable formation of dust, gas and fire. I cannot wrap my head around the wonder of a lovely nebula. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that there are millions of them, that each contains millions of stars and around each star is the possibility of planetary systems. How on earth can I begin to wrap my head around the consciousness, intelligence, God that not only created this incredible spacescape but conceived it in the beginning.

Many people think I’m just nuts. They are probably right but that is beside the point. It is just that, in a world full of people who think they have all the answers, who are certain that they can tell me what God wants, I cannot begin to say that I have a clue.

There are days when I wish I had the simple, wonderful, complete and sure faith of a child. Everything happens because God said so. I tripped over a stick, hallelujah. To sing Jesus Loves me and allow that to be the end all and be all of my faith would be so easy and so simple. And for some people, that is all they need. For myself, there are always questions. Not because I doubt but because there are more answers to questions I will ever even think to ask. I don’t even know what I don’t know.

I have always felt like Jesus is the most recent of God’s visitations to this Earth. I am certain he has come before and will come again. God watches us and God sees us and He teaches us. In every generation, we learn more. As children, we reach just a little further each day (or generation) the more we learn, the more we ask. The more we ask, the more God shows us. The more He shows us, the more we reach. And on goes the circle.

I know there are many groups, populations and religions that prefer the simple life. They keep their lives to singing Jesus Loves Me and have no wish to go further. And that’s OK. It works for them. And it works for a lot of Preacher’s, Priests, Imams and Rabbis.

But there are far more who continue to ask, learn, teach, search and discover. And each new discovery leads to more questions. Each new question leads to new growth. And in all of it, in all of these questions, the most intelligent and the most simplistic, there is always the underlying question. Why? To that, we may never have an answer. And that’s OK.

Of all the creatures on this earth, Humans think beyond their next meal, their shelter, their own lives and reproduction. God gave us a Questioning and discerning mind. I believe he WANTS us to learn. He wants us to strive. We will make mistakes. It is from mistakes that we learn the most.

Ms. Rees equates the relative obscurity of Galilee as the home of Jesus and the origin of our Salvation with the relative obscurity of our place in the Milky Way and a place of Origin for Humans of Earth to carry our faith. What if we are simply one of the MANY places where Christ has visited? If there are millions of civilizations in the universe, would God, who created them ALL, not have shown himself there as well? perhaps in different forms, perhaps with different outcomes, but surely, he has been there, too.

But, then again, perhaps it all does begin here. If it does, can we handle the responsibility? Are we ready to take it on? Do we want to? Or should we keep God all to ourselves? Many questions. The thing God gives us are questions. And each answer brings more questions. The ability to ask those questions and the desire to answer them is, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us.

23 November 2008

Rosaries In the Hands of Heroes


Those who read this humble blog know that there are few on this earth that I respect more than the Soldier. They are who keep us safe and they are who we all should thank. Among those wonderful heroes in uniform is a personal Hero of mine, Michael. Michael has served in the Navy and now in the Army. He is 50 years old and has built his life of his own will and God’s Grace. Michael is now and was previously, a Body Building Champion.

In my own weakness, Michael is one of my inspirations. The difficulties he has overcome, I will not enumerate here. Those are his own stories to tell. I will tell you that his is a great victory for himself and his God.

I am extremely proud to call Michael my Friend.

I have recently begun asking those who carry my Rosaries, those I can find, to send me pictures of my Rosaries in their hands. To me, hands tell me everything I need to know about a person. Their character, their strength, their personality. Michael’s, appropriately, was the first picture I have received and I will post it here. I hope to add many more to this page. For now, know that Michael symbolizes all that is good in this country, all that can be done, all the potential there is for any person who wants to build a life. Michael is my ultimate example.

Have a look at the wonderful picture Michael has sent me. You will understand in an instant why my mission is to make as many Rosaries for Soldiers as I can. This picture says it all.

11 October 2008

In the Mist

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This morning it is very foggy. Here in the South, we get that in the fall. Especially while Indian Summer is in swing. The period when the temps have been cooler but there is an upward temp swing for about a week. I awoke this morning around 5 and at 6, decided to take a walk and enjoy the mist shrouded morning.

I took my Personal Rosary with me and hung it around my neck and a newly acquired one, a World War One Military Rosary. This one, after working a few different ways, I put around my left wrist. I thought I would take a walk, maybe attend the early Mass and have the old Military Rosary Blessed.

Off I strolled in the dim mist. I live near a freeway so it offers an interesting contrast. The quiet, sleeping neighborhood and the busy interstate. The folks next door are expecting a new baby. I smile when I see the windows are dark. That won’t last long I move on, out of the glow of the street light at the end of my driveway and on into the darker area of our street. It only lasts a couple of yards. The shadows of old trees briefly block the light from the streetlight and the ones from the freeway. It is a pocket of more dim street that soon opens to the highway. The layout of the street to the highways creates echoes. When you are three houses from the end of the street, the echoes of the cars on the freeway make you think a car is coming behind you. I turn several times to check but I am all alone.

As I turn onto the access road beside the freeway, the bustle of the highway is almost sudden, though it is the background of my life. My father was a Big Rig driver to and on the day he died. I understand that lifestyle of the modern day gypsy. Most, like my dad, would live no other way. They are their own men and they see the world. Like sailors of old, they are never in the same place long and they live their own lives. I cannot look at them without thinking of my dad. I guess I never will.

As I walk up the sidewalk, there is one area where the curb had been removed to allow for a driveway on the side to the house on the corner. You have to be careful walking here. The sneaker imprints of someone who accidentally stepped in the wet cement are there, along with a child’s handprint and several paw prints. You can tell the foot prints were surprised to find the give of wet cement. They dance off to the left and off of the cement. The dogs didn’t care, they went on about their way and the hand print, place precisely in the corner, is deep. I see these and wonder about the steps taken there that are not recorded in stone.

On up the sidewalk as many trucks and cars, even a motorcycle and a police car go by. Early morning commuters, ready to be at work at 7 or off to an early breakfast before the shift starts. Days are beginning.

I turn into the parking lot of the church and look at the cars still there. Each one has a full dose of dew, they have been here all night. I wonder what their owners are doing tonight. Are they spending the night in the church? Adoration is often held overnight. Perhaps a car didn’t start and a husband drove a wife home. Maybe someone is carpooling for an overnight shift. So many possibilities.

My eyes turn to the church. Shrouded in the mist, the brick fa├žade rises from the hill and I turn to thoughts of the morning. I usually take this route, sit beside the church for sunrise, attend the Mass and head home, which is just behind the church.

I reach over and touch the new, old rosary on my wrist. It’s GONE!

My stomach drops and I feel a small panic. Not of fear but of disappointment in myself. This Rosary has been treasured for years by a soldier. Well worn, the silver plate is almost completely gone from the beads. Someone carried this Rosary all over Europe and brought it home safe and I lost it. I was devastated. I turned around and retraced my steps. Back across the parking lot and past the cars, onto the sidewalk, anything that caught the light caught my eye. To the footprints and around the corner. Walking slowly, scanning each step, side to side looking for the pattern of beads on a string.

Even though I am anxious to find this Rosary, I know it might not be found. By me. I have seen it many times, a Rosary disappears and someone is heartbroken. But, at the same time, that Rosary will be found, someday, if not today, and it will mean something to someone. It will be important in their lives. This happened with my daughter when she was little. I had made four crocheted baby blankets before she was born and she treasured them all. One, she carried to a church function and, playing in the room where charity clothing had been stored, she lost it. She was broken hearted but I told her, she still had three and there was a child somewhere who would receive Blue Blankie and love it and treasure it. He might never have had one had she not lost it. At 18, she still remembers that day and that story and that thought gives her comfort. She also holds her other three closely and still sleeps with them, today.

Over my shoulder, I hear another echo of a car. I look to check and this time, a neighbor coming home from the night shift. A wave and a nod and he’s off to bed.

As I left the light from the highway, I realized I was not going to see it in the dark patch. I would come back with my husband’s flashlight. When in the darkened area, I walked a little faster. Looking up, I saw the streetlight at the end of my driveway and with the mist and the pecan tree between it and myself, the light streamed through the limbs and leaves like the sun on a cloudy day. I just looked at the light streaming in the mist and it looked lovely, even for a harsh streetlight. As I approached the end of my driveway, I looked down, and there was the old Rosary. Waiting for me, almost welcoming me home.



Blessings+

Karon

Karon Adams
Yellow Ribbon Rosaries
Your New Family Heirloom
They stand on a wall and say, ‘Nothins gonna hurt you tonight’ ~~ Lt Cdr Galloway; A Few Good Men
510 Notre Dame Ave
Chattanooga TN 37412


Providing Battlefield Rosaries to the Military
HomeFront Rosaries to Their Families
and Heirloom Wire Wrapped Semi Precious Rosaries

http://www.yellowribbonrosaries.com/

09 October 2008

The Yellow Ribbon's Travels

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A letter arrives in my mailbox. “Thank you. I had your Rosary in Iraq and it helped me in my faith and my job. I am home now, and safe. Here is your ribbon. God Bless.” I hold that letter in to my heart and take out the ribbon. The ends are no longer sharp but frayed and a little unraveled. The color has faded and is dulled by dust and sand that has been worked into the weave. Some sweat stains with a little bit brighter patch in the center where the crease from the knot was.


Standing there in my suburban driveway, I think about the journey of that tiny piece of ribbon. Just six inches long and satin weave, it has seen the world as well as the best and worst of life.

This little piece of ribbon began on a roll of 1,000 yards. Measured out and cut into small pieces, it is placed in a small jelly jar. Standing there on end, this mass of short pieces of ribbon looks like a flower. They remind me of a dandelion. Pick one up and blow away the seeds, make a wish. My wish is made on these pieces of ribbon. My wish is for the comfort, safety and solace of the men and women who keep us safe.

Having grown up in a military family, I have always loved those in uniform. When I starting making Battlefield Rosaries, I found a way to support them. I make these Rosaries from Parachute cord and non reflective plastic beads. Tough cord for strength, lightweight so they will not increase the load of the soldier, non reflective and quiet to help them stay safe. And a prayer on that little Yellow Ribbon.

Making my Rosaries, I place a little Yellow Ribbon on the Rosary and say a Prayer for the safety of the recipient. With a breath, these little Yellow Ribbons fly out into the world on their Rosaries and prayers and find themselves in the hands of soldiers. There, they will take root and help to nurture the growth of faith. That faith will hopefully bear fruit by offering hope, comfort, love and solace.


When that soldier comes home and brings his Rosary with him, I ask him to send the ribbon back to me. When that ribbon comes home, I know one of “my” soldiers has come home. Often, there is a note, “Thank you for the support,” “the prayers helped me,” your Rosary was there with me,” “Your support means so much to us,” “I am home.” These words accompany that little piece of ribbon. I’ll take it into my home and add it to my wall with other pictures, letters and ribbons that have come home.

Each letter, picture and returned ribbon are precious. I see them every day, I re-read the letters over and over. After I read the new letter, put up the new picture and ribbon, I settle in to make more Rosaries. And there is another ribbon flower in the jar by my chair, waiting to blow in the breeze and plant seeds of faith. Faith that, one day, can change the world.





Blessings+

Karon

Karon Adams
Yellow Ribbon Rosaries
Your New Family Heirloom
They stand on a wall and say, ‘Nothins gonna hurt you tonight’ ~~ Lt Cdr Galloway; A Few Good Men
510 Notre Dame Ave
Chattanooga TN 37412

Providing Battlefield Rosaries to the Military
HomeFront Rosaries to Their Families
and Heirloom Wire Wrapped Semi Precious Rosaries

http://www.yellowribbonrosaries.com/

08 October 2008

A Fine Soft Day in the Fall

For those who have seen A Quiet Man, you have heard the opening Soliloquy,"A Fine Soft Day in the Spring, it was, when Himself came to town."

For those who are not of Celtic origins, a "Soft Day" is a day when it rainsslowly and steadily all day and the world is in a shroud of raindrops andmist.So, I awoke this morning to what sounded like a 'Fine Soft Day'.

I could hear the steady hum of the light rain outside my window. I stretched andcrawled out of bed and took the puppies out. Being Boxers, neither waswilling to dampen their delicate toes they go bounding out the back door,though the garage, under the overhang and SKID to a stop. It really ishilarious! And Tovi goes skidding behind Mayhem and knocks him into the rain. OOPS! Poor baby, he got his little toesies wet. They decided theycould hold it. I wonder how long they will wait. I'm guessing til lunch,that's the usual limit.

The morning episode of Star Trek and it's time to make Denver's Breakfastand lunch. Then wake him. He groans and tries to put me off until thedoggies get involved. That usually gets him out of bed nothing quite likea warm, slobbery kiss to start your day!

Break time to spend with Denver. Chatting about the girl caught in theelevator last night. My husband is a hero and often has college coeds hughim for releasing them when the call came in, I answered it and the ladytold me the situation. Denver was communing with his beer so I had totranslate. As soon as she told me it was an entrapment I told her he wasleaving as we spoke, boots in hand. I am Claustrophobic so am empatheticwith someone trapped in an elevator. It has never happened to me but I knowI would go nuts. I told Denver his girlfriend was on the phone. "which one?"he asks "the one who pays you time and a half, get moving!" she laughed,took the travel estimate and my name and Denver took off.

Opening the curtains to watch Denver leave. There he goes, his mascot, BuzzLightyear, sitting on the dashboard of his van. He joins the neighbors ontheir way to work. The same ones who I watched come home to their familie slast night.

After he left, I put on a skirt and my crocs, grabbed a shawl, an umbrellaand a towel (the bench would be wet) and walked up to the playground.Settling in, I watched the kidlets arriving for school. They won't be on theplayground today. I'll miss hearing them at recess. But they hop out oftheir cars at the Gym entrance. Bright little coats and smiling faces,teachers waiting to shepherd them in with their umbrellas. In the windows of the school, I can see paper bats and pumpkins and ghostsdancing in the breeze of the ventilation. They are ready for Halloween.

We'll have to start decorating our yard soon. The neighborhood kind ofdepends on us for the Halloween Night this year, we're going to haveKelsey take pics and let the parents come back to pick them up later. Theschool windows glow from inside in the misty morning. I can see the bordersalong the tops of the chalkboards. In one room, block lettered alphabets, inthe next, cursive. I remember when my kidlets were that age and look forwardto the grandkits. I stay and watch until the cherry light(like the ones on a police car)starts turning in the office. Class has officially started. A few kids showup late, their parents walking them in to fill out tardy forms.

The teachersfold their umbrellas and go in. I gather my things and walk home. One of mycrows is yelling at me from the oak tree in my back yard. He'll be in thepecans this afternoonWalking home, I hear the rain still softly drumming on my umbrella.

Looking at the ground, there are the first few golden maple leaves on the ground. Here in the South, some trees hold leaves until the new buds begin to swell,so most trees now are still covered. But a few golden maples are already onthe ground. The year is a circle and I always see it begin in my mind in thefall. Everything is working in quiet to prepare for the leap in the Spring. We'll have a carpet of leaves soon, but for now, just a few for decoration.I can almost count them.

Came home, made some toast and opened another jar of apple butter. There maybe none left for Christmas gifts I'll have to make something else. Whilethe toast cooks, I think about dinner. Maybe I'll make a pot of chili andsome Salsa Bread. It's a good day for it.

The toast pops and I spread theapple butter. Tasting it, the cinnamon jumps at me, as it always does. WhenI eat cinnamon, I always remember the line from Jane Austen's Sense andSensibility. The youngest sister asks the Captain what India was like. Theair if full if spices," he whispers. I hear that line every time.

My crow is yelling again, he's in the pecans now he's welcome to them.


Blessings+

Karon,
Karon AdamsYellow Ribbon Rosaries
Your New Family Heirloom

They stand on a wall and say, 'Nothins gonna hurt you tonight' ~~ Lt CdrGalloway; A Few Good Men
510 Notre Dame AveChattanooga TN 37412
423-400-7627
Providing Battlefield Rosaries to the Military
HomeFront Rosaries to Their Familiesand
Heirloom Wire Wrapped Semi Precious Rosaries
<http://www.yellowribbonrosaries.com/> www.YellowRibbonRosaries.com