Mary Beth Writes

Interview with a Mother - Mary Helena's Empty Arms

The last interview at the Nativity Scene. This one has only become more poignant with time. Mary Helena still lives in Racine these 12 years later - and if you choose to say anything kind to her in the comments, i can get those remarks to her for you.

Blessings on us all as we move into theis year's celebration of birth and love. 

Written 2005

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An Interview with a Traveler from Afar - Far Places & Strange Sights

From: December 17, 2005                          

As we trek ontowards Christmas we are encountering characters suggested by the traditional Christmas story; a shepherd who's actually a local dairy farmer, an innkeeper who manages a hotel on Durand. 

And now we meet a wise man traveling from afar.

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When I met Eddie Jirgensen, who works for Merchant's Moving and Storage, the first thing he asked was, "You're not gonna say I'm a wise man, right?"

I said I'd call him a traveler.

He sighed his relief. 

What's Up at the Inn?

Part 2 of the 4-part series of interviews at the Nativity Scene

This was written December 10, 2005

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 Let’s meet "innkeeper" Monica Hanson.  Monica, who is manager at the local Microtel Inn and Suites, is slight, has warm brown eyes, and smiles when I address her as an innkeeper.  She's just Lutheran enough to get the joke.

I ask her why she picked this career.

Not Buying Presents for Christmas? What Fresh Hell is this?

We spent a lot of money on our kids this past year and they spent a lot of their own money arranging and getting to all the stuff this family did. (Wedding events and more….). It was my opinion we didn’t need to spend more cash on each other. When I mentioned this to my daughters and sister-in-law, they agreed - so we decided to just do food gifts. Baked stuff, cooked stuff, tasty treats from delis, bottles of wine, etc.

This is what Christmas without major presents-shopping and buying has felt like:

Very. Very. Good.  

An Interview with a Shepherd (Actually, he's a Dairy Farmer)

In the next few days, as we slide into Christmas, I am going to reprint four interviews I wrote for the Racine Journal Times, years ago.  

From December 3, 2005

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Perhaps you've heard the story that goes with this season.  It includes in its cast of characters; some shepherds, an innkeeper, travelers from afar, and a young mother. These persons are acclaimed for their endurance, compassion, and wisdom. I'm going to talk with some local persons who are the above - shepherd, innkeeper, traveler, and mother - to see what these characters might say to us today.

December 18th

You will have to click into this PDF file to see some photos and some comments. Thanks!

How Fit Do You Want to Be?

I wrote this (below) four years ago and I think I never posted it anywhere.  I bet I thought I needed to write more.

Just found it and I still love the story.

Happy Weekend Before Christmas

Sometimes I have so much to say and sometimes it’s Monday.

I read part of an essay this weekend.

Sermon – Something Happened Here

One innocent day last spring my husband asked me if I would like to take a little getaway to Chester, Illinois, In August.  Because we all know how appealing southern Illinois is, in August.

“What’s in Chester, Il?”

“It’s in the Path of Totality. There is going to be an eclipse in August and there will be a 60-mile path that goes from Oregon to South Carolina, and Chester is inside that path. If we go there we can see a total eclipse.”

Sermon – Roses on the Columbia

The word courage comes from the Latin Cor – which means heart. Core – the center of things. Cor - to go towards the essence of what needs to happen, to be at the middle of an event. Courage is to act from our ‘cor” - our center, our heart.

While on the space shuttle Columbia, which would explode during reentry a few days later, astronaut Laurel Clark wrote some emails to family and friends. This is from one of them: Subject: Hello from 150 NM above the Earth

How To Visit New York City on $1 a Day (hah)

It was 1974 and I had just graduated from college. I did not have a CLUE what I wanted to do with my life. We could do that back then.  I did have a list of “Things I Want to Do and Adventures I Want to Have in the Next 10 Years”. It included things like hiking the Outback of Australia and teaching school in the Appalachians and Live in New York City. All this from the daughter of a not-rich Michigan widow. I also had $3000 in school loans (equiv to about $15,000 now, I just looked it up). Ah, youth.