Archive for the ‘POPPY & DOTTIR’ Category

Yesterday in Mallorca, a sweet lady presented this purple orchid in my name to my father. IMG_20170429_112105 On the card it says “For my Poppy with love from your delicate flower”… I am so touched by this kind gesture.

Here are a few photos of my father:

I will miss him forever and a day. Please pray for our family.

Peace and Grace,


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My father lives in a different world than me.

He lives in Mallorca, Spain and the traditions are different in many ways. I always like to hear of the festivities for different occasions, so I sent an email asking him about Christmastide, and whether they decorate Christmas trees.  I received this long message which I want to pass on to my readers, complete with links and photos.  I am especially amazed by the snowflake lights.  At the bottom of the post you can listen to the song my father refers to in this message, sung by a child.

I hope you all have a meaningful Christmas celebration in honor of the Son of God who came to Earth to save us all.


Sister Olive


Dear Dottir,

In the last decade or so, yes, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, elves and any commercialization possible has taken over.  Even here in this small village, in the little plaza up in town there is a Christmas tree with decorations.

Before this northern invasion, Christmas Eve was celebrated in the church, or quietly in the home, no tree, no gifts just a celebration of the birth and the mother.  Here on Mallorca and in Catalunya, they had another very strange custom. A young child sings the Sybila, a song of the Judgment Day. You can read about it here: 

I have heard it sung many times over the years, because when I directed the church choir we were up in the organ loft, waiting for our turn to sing various Christmas songs from the region.  It is a haunting melody, very difficult for a child to sing, so they practice it for weeks before, no accompaniment of any kind, just that pure “white voice” as they call unchanged voices here. Here it is sung in a little church by a woman:

In the Cathedral of Palma they make a real production of it, with full choir, organ and a young woman singing– these may be beautiful, but I prefer the single child in the Deya church, innocently singing about the end of the world.  Every year a different child is chosen.

Before also, the decorations were basically “nerulas” or white paper cutouts like snowflakes, hung across the nave of the church and in houses.  The streets still are blazoned with lights, as traditionally – I first saw them in Barcelona in 1969 and was amazed. Take a look

As for myself, you know me – Stephanie and I would sometimes walk and look at the world, especially the stars which are exceptionally bright in winter, just appreciating Creation, perhaps lamenting its ultimate passing…

I will be doing that alone this year for sure, and will send my love to you all.  What I see from my balcony is this:

 Poppy's Window View

Where Chopin stayed in 1838 for the winter, so I have good company.

At night it is lit up, blocking the stars until late, when they are turned off.

 Poppy's View at Night

What will you be doing?  Have you found a compatible church where you can enjoy the songs of Christmas?

Lots of love,



Here is the link for the solo sung by a child, my favorite of the versions so far:


The Song of the Sibyl

On the Day of Judgment
The good go to heaven for their services.

An eternal King cometh
Dressed in our mortal flesh
He certainly will come from heaven
To judge the century.

Before the judgment is passed
A great sign will show itself
The sun will lose its shine
The earth will tremble with fear.

Then comes a mighty thunder
The sign of a great anger
In a hellish confusion
Rays and cries resound.

A great fire will fall from the sky
In a stench of sulfur
And the earth will burn furiously
And a great terror afflict people.

Then comes the terrible signal
A major earthquake
The rocks will break
And the mountains will collapse.

Then nobody will have gold pieces
Silver or wealth
And all await sentencing.

Death will leave you penniless
And all collide
Only men remain crying
And sadness will cover the world.

The plains and peaks are all the same
Good and bad will be achieved
Kings, dukes, earls and barons
They will have to account for their actions.

And then comes, unexpected
The son of God Almighty
He will judge the living and the dead
The good go to heaven.

The Unborn
Cry from the wombs of their mothers
And with her cries say
“Help us God Almighty”

Mother of God, pray for us
You, the Mother of All Sins
You have the judgment merciful
You have that paradise is open to us.

You who have heard it all
Pray to God with devotion
With all your heart and fervor
That should save us.


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The magpie is a most illustrious bird,

Dwells in a diamond tree.

One brings sorrow and one brings joy,

Sorrow and joy for me.


I thought I had been doing rather well since my trip to Spain.

For the first three months or so following our trip, I was haunted by the images in my mind of Mallorca and the time with my father. Rivers of emotion carried me to places I didn’t wish to go and a few times I almost lost control in the rapids.

Then I arrived at a quiet still pond which was  such a relief.  I drifted there peacefully for several weeks.  I felt numb and reflected quietly from time to time about my visit with my father. I thought I was finally okay.

My father intended to visit me in October, but somehow I sensed that he would not come. I know that he has been ill a lot, but still I didn’t want to hear his words when he said he wouldn’t be here till spring of 2014. Somehow I still managed to remain calm inside.

Then yesterday something happened on a subliminal level. I fell into a deep sleep and had a vivid dream.  I was a bird sailing over the island of Mallorca, sweeping through the streets and valleys, swirling like a swift over the cliffs and circling the bell towers and spires.  My eyes were searching the ground below for something, but I didn’t know what.  When I awoke, I felt my heart drop like a stone into the streets and break into pieces. It was my father I had been seeking, and he wasn’t there.

I wondered if he would be well enough to come in the spring. I realized how much I miss his voice that I haven’t heard for six months. As sorrow engulfed me, the bright rays of a lullaby pierced gently through the dark clouds of my mind:

Somewhere, my love,

There will be songs to sing

Although the snow

Covers the hope of spring.

Somewhere a hill

Blossoms in green and gold

And there are dreams
All that your heart can hold.

Someday we’ll meet again, my love.

Someday whenever the spring breaks through. *

I fell asleep to the sound of singing, and I recognized the voice of my Comforter.

My heart is so breakable today.  I spoke to my eldest son, and he says his longings have been almost unbearable at times too.  Please pray for us and for my father too.


Olive Twist


Why art thou cast down , O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.  Psalm 42:11

Psalm 137

*(“Somewhere My Love” or Lara’s Theme from the movie Dr. Zhivago)

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For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  Hosea 6:6

Red red wineHe sat across the table from me, eyes damp and swollen.  I could smell the soft scent of cologne and red wine as my father studied my face sorrowfully.

He pointed towards the room upstairs where my son was seated and said, “He would not exist if I had not done this awful thing to you. He was a gift sent to help you because of what I have done. He is pure gold. He loves you so much, and you love him, and that is such a blessing for both of you.  As for me, I have been punished because when I finally found my true love, we could not have any children.  That is how I was repaid for what I did to you.”  I closed my eyes and could not find any words for reply; I knew that my father needed this moment even more than I did.

When he had finished speaking, he hugged and kissed me and I climbed the stairs to my little bedroom. My heart was a giant paperweight in my chest. As I pondered his remarks in my bed, it seemed strange to me that an atheist would speak of a higher power and divine justice. Yet I am not interested in judgment. Only one matter is important now: to humbly participate in this redemptive work with an open and forgiving heart.


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I wrote this letter to my father in January 2012 while he was extremely ill, in hopes that he might at least consider praying for himself.  I don’t claim to have all the answers and I am in no position to judge anyone.

But I do believe the teachings of Christ, so it would be poor of me not to try to convince those whom I love in a humble way.

If you have not read the post called “The Geronda and the Atheist,” I would highly recommend it.  Here is the link:


Dear Poppy,

I am writing this to you because I feel that I would be remiss if I did not press you about this subject.  I know that you have a disdain for religion, and you always have. I have a problem with it too, in many ways.  Terrible evils have been committed in the name of religion, and it angers me too. 

You are very hard-headed and I like that in many ways, because I think it is important to think for oneself. I admired Luis Buñuel for challenging the religious leaders and questioning everything, even if they did excommunicate him and consider him a heretic. 

However, I do have this question for you that has been bothering me.  You have many valid complaints about religion, but what about Jesus?  What is wrong with Him? I have never really heard you address this. I am really curious, because I cannot seem to find a flaw in Him.  When He was sent to Pontius Pilate to be beaten and questioned, Pilate said that he could find no fault in Him. No one else could find anything either, even the religious hypocrites who wanted to kill Him. I’ve never met anyone perfect before, so this in itself makes me think that He is divine.

Also, what is your response to C. S. Lewis, the Oxford scholar who said that you either must believe what Christ said about Himself, or be comfortable with calling Him a liar or a madman?   Christ said He was one with the Father (God) and Lewis says if it is not true, then He is like someone who calls himself a poached egg.

All of Christ’s closest friends said that He had no qualms about professing His divinity, or saying that He was the only door to God.  He said He had sheep that were from other pastures, and that He would bring them into His pasture.  This is a mystery in many ways, but I believe in His divinity and His ability to visit anyone He chooses in any place at any time and reveal Himself.

If I have to choose between believing Jesus and believing some writer like the author of the Da Vinci Code or Hitchens, I think I would trust Jesus more than any of them. Gandhi expressed great admiration for Christ but he couldn’t stand Christians, because he felt they were so unlike Christ.

I admire many great human teachers such as Buddha, Gandhi, Black Elk, Baha U’llah, and others, and agree with many of their teachings. I think they are a great source of joy and wisdom to many people. But to me it would be preposterous to say that they were equal with Christ.  That is, of course, unless you don’t believe Jesus performed so many miracles or died willingly for His followers or rose from the dead. No other teachers have done such things or made such claims.

If these miracles were not true and the scriptures were false, then why did the Essenes go through such painstaking efforts to write them all down numerous times with such precision and care, and to preserve them for future generations?  Why would I waste my whole life to write down a fairy tale hundreds of times and hide copies in places where they could survive for thousands of years? And to do it anonymously, taking no credit for myself as the writer! That would seem ludicrous to me. 

Well, I know that you are an intellectual, and that you enjoy these conversations like a jousting match. To me, this isn’t just some empty rhetoric and it’s not a game.  I am not seeking argument or conflict or trying to outsmart you, but rather wishing you would just contemplate what I am saying. If you must debate, so be it, but I wish you’d just pray once instead. I actually do worry about your soul. I’ll bet you are laughing about that, but why would you want to take chances? Sometimes I think it’s just your pride and nothing more.

Have you ever thought about asking God in a humble sincere way to do something for you that you could not possibly do on your own, and just see what happens?  What do you have to lose by giving Him a chance?  If He doesn’t respond to your humble sincere prayer, then you will never let me live it down, and that is okay. Then you can have another good laugh. 

I am going to have the audacity to ask you to pray anyway, and I will pray too for you to be persuaded about Jesus, even if you don’t believe anything else. You are aware that I have loved Him for my entire life.

I hope this letter doesn’t make you angry, because I love you and enjoy our communications these days. I don’t want to wreck things. I wish you would just do this one thing for my sake, if for no other reason. 

Love always,




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My father told me a beautiful story of how they celebrate and reenact Good Friday and Easter in Mallorca, Spain where he lives.  First, they choose a young man from the village to portray Christ.  Then they choose other villagers to play the Roman soldiers and the two thieves and other important characters.

The young man in his complete costume with his robe and crown of thorns carries the cross throughout the village and he pauses to reenact the stations of the cross.  When he arrives at “Golgotha” he is crucified between the two thieves, and when he dies, all of the village churches darken their lights until Sunday morning.  On Easter morning, the bells chime and all the lights are cut on for sunrise services.

When I heard this story, I thought how sad it is that in America, which is known throughout the world for freedom, we are restricted from religious festivities in public places, and how much I would love to see such a beautiful event in my own country.

I want to wish everyone a meaningful Good Friday and Easter, as we commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ in our own hearts.  These events are so inexplicable and unspeakably beautiful that I will not even attempt to compete with greater minds on this subject.  I will simply ask that you contemplate the force of divine love behind these events this weekend with me and others around the world, and give thanks for all that was accomplished by Christ for every one of us.

As it says in one of my favorite hymns:

They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where He prayed,

They led Him through the streets in shame,

They spat upon my Savior, so pure and free from sin,

They said “Crucify Him! He’s to blame.”


Upon His precious head they placed a crown of thorns,

They laughed and said behold the King,

They struck Him and they pierced Him, and they mocked His holy Name,

Alone He suffered everything.



He could have called ten thousand angels

To destroy the world and set Him free.

He could have called ten thousand angels

But He died alone for you and me.



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