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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

This and That

When I’m reading, I often come across something that is inspiring, surprising, strange, or just plain fun. Today I thought I’d share a few of the things I came across recently—in no particular order.

1) In April, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. At the time of his death, he was planning to make a retreat at the Trappist monastery in Kentucky under the direction of Thomas Merton, the famous

(all photos today are from Pixabay)

monk, writer, and fellow social activist. This fact made me appreciate even more these two things: King’s deep prayer life, and 2) that these two men—so different in many ways—held in common the same ideals about faith and social justice.

2) Scientists in Australia have created golden orange bananas that are rich in provitamin A. These bananas could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children who die of vitamin A deficiency each year. Scientists developed these bananas by taking genes from a species of bananas in Papua New Guinea and combining them with a Cavendish banana. Next researchers will begin to grow these bananas in Uganda. My reaction to this: We must give thanks and pray for researchers all over the globe who are working to solve the serious problems of the world.

3) Did you know that dragonflies have been around for more than 200 million years?! This means they once flew among the dinosaurs! Back in those days, some dragonflies were almost 3 feet long! (Notice: I couldn’t help using 3 exclamation points in sharing this news with you! Now 4…)

“Hi, Human! I’m a dragonfly. My species has been around for 200 million years. How long has your species been around?”

4)  Here are a few obscure holidays coming up within the next few weeks:

March 22 – National Goof Off Day

Don’t forget to celebrate national beer day on April 7th!

March 25 – National Waffle Day

March 26 – Purple Day

March 30 – National Doctors’ Day

March 31 – National Crayon Day

April 7 – National Beer Day

April 11 – National Pet Day

April 12 – Grilled Cheese Day

April 16 – Wear Pajamas to Work Day

I guess there’s always something to celebrate.

5) A psychiatrist wrote two prescriptions for a patient. One was for a mild anti-depressant and the other said, “Get a dog!” The man filled both prescriptions. Says writer Anna Quindlen: “Probably the dog helped to elevate his mood as much as the pills!”

6) Here’s a good question posed by that famous baseball pitcher, Satchel Paige, who played his last professional baseball game at age 60: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”

7) Speaking of aging well, Sister Jean Schmidt, a Sister of Charity from Iowa, is the 98-year-old chaplain of the Loyola University of Chicago’s men’s basketball team. The 5 foot nun can be found at every home basketball game decked out in Loyola gear and sporting her maroon tennis shoes with gold laces. The word “Sister” is stitched onto the heel of her left shoe and “Jean” on the right one. Before every game she greets each player and prays with the team in a circle with their arms linked together. Between games she keeps in touch with the players via email. “People ask me how I’m living so long,” she says. “I say, ‘Well, I eat well, I sleep well, and, hopefully, I pray well.” She adds, “Good genes help too.” A few years back the University created the Sister Jean bobblehead, thus turning the diminutive nun into a sports icon!

8) And finally, can you read this paragraph?

Aoccdrnig to a rseearchr at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. The olny iprmoetnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer is in the righit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wtih ltitle dififcluty. This is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe. (My spellcheck went crazy when I typed this!)

Did anything stand out at you from this list of “this and that”?

We are nearing the end of our Lenten Journey. I thought this song, “Abide with Me,” by Matt Maher would be appropriate as we reflect on Jesus’ great love for us:


Please pray for a Lenten presentation I will be giving this Saturday, March 24, for the ladies of St. Rita Parish in Solon, Ohio. Our theme will be “Hanging onto Hope in Today’s World.” The day also includes a nice lunch! Thank you!

Do you have anything to add or comment on today? Please do so below. We’d love to hear from you!

30 Responses

  1. Good Morning Sr. Melannie!

    I liked the insight about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. How wonderful that he was going to take time to go on a retreat directed by Thomas Merton! These two wonderful men lived out their calling in such different but amazing ways.

    Prayed for you this morning. God bless.


  2. Good morning, Melannie! What stands out to me? Everything! What delightful reading. Sister Jean Schmidt — now there’s some March Madness! What a grand gal! Never knew that MLK was about to make a retreat with Thomas Merton — two great men who died too young. About dragonflies…I love them, but even more now. They look like the helicopter gunships of the insect world, but they’re really so gentle. Thanks for these nuggets of interest, and thanks for your imaginative and insightful reflection on Sunday’s gospel in This Day. The stalk sends out seeds — never thought of that before!

  3. What stood out to me? The new banana and the fact that it is being raised in Uganda. I love Uganda, have visited there 2 times and now work with a priest who supports orphans. I plan to share this with him and just maybe he could start growing them on his farm for the good health of his kids.

    Thank you for sharing each Monday, I look forward to your wisdom. This week has been one of my favorites. I will say a prayer for your upcoming Lenten retreat.


  4. Sister Melannie –
    I was touched and inspired by your reflection in This Day about the grain of wheat. The personification of the grain and imagined thoughts, words, and feelings really help to understand why we all at times experience periods of darkness, silence when God doesn’t seem to hear us. If we persevere in our daily prayer life, trusting God the Farmer, we all can be transformed and renewed, bearing much more fruit than we ever could have on our own. God bless you!

  5. Love the age comments. I’m 74, still work as sec-treas of a township, continue to work for Weight Watchers and my husband and I run a small greenhouse every spring. I’ve been thinking people think I should quit because of age. We don’t work- when you love what you do, you never work a day. Thanks for this.

  6. I loved the banana story, its great balance to genetic engineering scary stuff. Not all outcomes are Frankenstein and we would do well to remember all knowledge is from God.
    When I was a child my grandmother called dragonflies “witch doctors” she said because they were of a time long gone…my grandmother did not complete primary school. The memory is so sweet this morning, thank you sister.


  7. Am so grateful to be able to hang on to your coat-tails via your Monday
    Postings. Great gift keeping your Retreat with us ongoing. Really
    loved the interview with the grain of wheat. Copied every word from
    “Give Us This Day” to pass on to some of our sisters via eMail.
    Great to learn about MLK’s plan to retreat with TM and about the
    Golden Bananas. Happy Feadt of St. Joseph! Keep well! Dorothy

  8. Good morning from southwestern Ohio!

    I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and randomness of This and That! I see it as a way to remind ourselves to be attentive to the serious and silly in daily life. God is in both places.

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since we lost Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! I remember hearing the news— even though I was only 15 at the time. It seemed as if it was a season of assassinations on prominent people. (:

    It’s fascinating to learn that Thomas Merton was going to lead Dr. King in a retreat! Two fascinating religious leaders living at the same time!

    Prayers for the Lenten presentation on March 24!


  9. Hi, Melanie! Loved your post as usual.
    Briefly thought about attending the retreat with a friend, but too much going on for me here. . Blessings to you as always and continued prayers for you and your ministries. ❤️ HAPPY EASTER!

  10. The first “This & That” about Martin Luther King really stood out. I’ve visited Gethsemane in Kentucky and the thought of Martin Luther making a retreat with Thomas Merton puts a whole new light on his personality. He truly was a mystic and both men died much too young. What a loss to the world on both accounts.
    Everytime I hang out sheets and dragonflies buzz around me, I think of my grandmother. You know, they kind of look like little dinosaurs……

  11. I enjoyed reading many sections. Interestingly, I live in Australia but read about the golden orange bananas from your website in USA. Fascinating to read that Martin Luther king Jr was about to attend a retreat with Thomas Merton. The zest of Sr Jean shows how our outlook can make a big difference despite our age. Lastly, an important day for our physical, mental and spiritual well being …. Wed 21 Nov Wednesday 2018 ….. Go Home on Time Day. [Centre for Future Work]. A blessed Passiontide to all as we look forward to Easter.


  12. So enjoyed this mornings blog. Lots of great information. Wonderful wat to start my day with your words of wisdom. Prayers for you for March 24 retreat. I am looking forward to a Lenten retreat the 21st-22nd
    Thanks again, Rose Anne

  13. I gain hope in all the wonderful ways you present the world. Curiosity is a true sign of genius. Thank you and God bless you and all who read this blog. We are the friendly fruities spreading good seed rooted in the Lord.

  14. I love your this and that’s! Actually, a very peaceful, thought provoking, and lighthearted way to begin my prayer time. Thank you.

  15. It’s amazing how little nuggets of information can become so much more and can inspire us in many ways. Loved Sunday’s reflectionin ‘Give Us This Day’ on the grain of wheat.

  16. Thank you for brightening my Monday morning with your fun facts. I felt my whole self smiling and that is the Holy Spirit dancing a jig in my heart and mind. If I didn’t know how old I was I would say ageless, which is how I hope to feel all of my life. May the same Holy Spirit appears during your presentation and give it through you! Ryan

  17. Dear Melannie, I enjoyed all the tid-bits of this mornings blog. Was pleasantly surprised at the bananas and MLK, Jr.
    I too, LOVED your grain of wheat reflection in Give Us This Day! You have such a unique way of touching hearts!
    Happy St. Joseph’s Day! Josita

  18. Dear Melannie,

    Thanks for a smile, a chuckle and insight this very purple Lenten Monday!
    Also, before the end of the first sentence I knew you were the author of “And the stalk said” 3/18 This Day.
    Much appreciated!
    Mary Fran

  19. Really enjoy your Monday reflections. You always provide some great “food for thought.” Heard about Sr. Jean on the National News on Sunday night. Interesting special day coming up. With great hope we celebrate Holy Week and the Great Three Days! Easter Blessings!

  20. Dear Sr. Melanie:

    Just a beautiful song……Abide With Me. I loved it and it’s words inspired me so much. I love all the days in March…some funny, some crazy! Your articles I always read, enjoy and take to heart.

    Barbara D.

  21. I am a long time reader, Melannie and want to say that you are the theological reflection person extraordinaire. You can take any thing, person or event and make it a powerful reflection. Thank you. And I , too, was touched by your grain of wheat reflection

  22. Though I spend a lot of time chasing and photographing butterflies, I feel spiritually connected to dragonflies, for the reason you mentioned: their longevity on our planet. They are resilient and adaptable. They are survivors. Thanks for sharing that tidbit this week, Sr. Melannie!

  23. I love it all, especially the seeds reflection
    I would to read about the talk you’re giving
    This Saturday

  24. I love all the days of celebration. What a nice reminder to celebrate the small stuff of our lives, perhaps sharing joy with others as we do so.

  25. I loved all the newsy tidbits. The song was great. I will remember your retreat tomorrow at Mass. I love all your writings.

  26. Hi Melanie!
    On pg.65 in your book “Everyday Epiphanies, there are some cute jokes with the idea of Keep Laughing. We have a son with paranoia. My wife and I agreed that the joke is inappropriate – paranoia does not define our son. Mental illness does not define anyone.
    Your book is excellent; I am enjoying it. Hope you will omit that joke.
    Thanks, Joe and Madeleine Johnson, San Luis Obispo Can.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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