Golden Splendour and a Collapsing Porch

Lamb of God and boots

Lamb of God Supporting Working Man’s Boots

Well, the porch broke.

I had been trying to muddle along in my own way  for the past ten years with repairs. Things like using cement filler to fix the splits in the cement slab, caulking the windows, and using paint to fill cracks. You know, little stuff.

While I was working on the Marian garden I noticed—and tried to ignore—the ever increasing crack in the porch floor. And then I couldn’t. The central section dropped nearly a half inch within a week. A glass block cracked, a storm window popped a tab, and the paneling under the windows bowed out.

“This is going to cost a lot.” Was all I could think.

Contractors came and went. Bids were beyond reason and beyond my budget, but the porch HAD to be replaced…there were no other options. Except of course prayers, and that I did often.

Then Tim came along. He only works by referrals and alone. His specialty according to a trusted friend is structure and foundations—a skilled tradesman, honest, fair, works only one job to completion, and takes pride in his work hidden from most peoples’ view.

His hourly rate was more than fair. Not much of a talker, a down to business sort of guy, arrived exactly on time and began demolition to assess the issue. It was worse than I had thought.

Porch collapsingContractor Tim

Animals had lived in the outside wall and eaten away the structure. The cement slab, well, wasn’t that at all. It was a slip of cement poured over who-knows-what that had eroded, and the whole of it had pushed out a fieldstone step-wall.



Tim was optimistic that he could do the repairs at a reasonable cost and talked me down as I escalated into financial panic.

You can see by the pictures work has begun.

Pray for contractor Tim, will you. He has a very nervous hermit to contend with—one who is overly anxious about saving her ‘Golden Splendour’ lilies!

Endangered Trumpet Lilies

(All images by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB. All rights reserved.)


Embroider the Earth with Prayer


I stooped at the waist to pull a few weeds. A twinge in my back caused me to stagger a bit so I lowered to kneeling and moved closer the flowers—a familiar intimacy.

The rose next to me was Tuscany, a maroon heirloom rose, its richly perfumed center was fluffy with gold pollen. The base of the dark velvety petals were tipped with white where the keel connected to the calyx. It gave the illusion of light radiating from its center. ‘Tuscany Superb’ is a polite shrub rose that remains relatively compact, at about four feet high and wide, and its stems are covered in hairy prickles rather than the usual woody thorns.

I worked my way a little farther down the garden bed, scooching along to where the Oriental lilies ‘Pink Pearl’ grew. The oversized anther pads floated on fine pale green filaments above the white edged petals. A humming bird zoomed in, took a couple quick sips from the lily’s trumpet and darted off.

The roses and the lilies, the fragrances known in July, rustled enough of me into the moment that the anxieties of the past few weeks eased.

I had been nearly consumed by worries, what were perceived as potential threats. A ghost from decades ago had returned to haunt ,and fear bit hard like a hungry dog on grizzled bone.

I’d become terribly upset and thrown off balance, losing the comfortable peace so well known in my days. I attempted to regain perspective through regimented worship: intercessory praying, rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, Mass and Adoration. Tentatively I reached out for prayer and shared the situation with a group of peers. They acknowledged my fears and began their own intercessions on my behalf.

In all this, it wasn’t until I lowered myself to the ground did the tension seep away.

To kneel on soil—instead of on padded wood—is to join oneself intimately with the Creator, to lean into, and on to, God. To arch the back and offer ones hands to toil with joy or tears, distract, alone, loved or not is to embroider the earth with prayer.

We are placed upon this sod of love spared from the Garden of Eden. For as low as our lives are from the heavens, we are, always, the humus of the earth—from it and to it, nourished and nourishing, full circle in the created affections of God. We scratch upon it. And not all scratching is fruitful and not all seeding sprouts.

It is the effort to draw closer to God that brings us to our knees. And every prayer waters the ground that rears us to our sainthood.