March 2007 Archives

.......I really liked the article in the new issue of Touchstone by Patrick Henry Reardon entitled The Son Risen With Healing: Biblical Aspects of the Easter Revolution.

I was particularly moved by the last paragraphs of the essay:

The Lord's final act on earth is to raise his hands in blessing, as he ascends into heaven, after which we faithful return to the upper room for a prayerful retreat to assimilate in our hearts the mystery so recently, so gently too, and so deftly revealed.

How long will it last? We have no idea. "When" is none of the Church's business. It is not for us to know the times or seasons that the Father has put in his own authority (Acts 1:7). Concerns about God's schedule are a great distraction and open to terrible deceptions.

And this is perhaps the most important lesson that we learn during these forty days of the Lord's mysterious lingering with us. He will do what he will do, and he will pick the time and place of doing it. Until the end of the world, our task, according to the earliest page of the New Testament, is simply "to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess 1:9-10).

That speaks to my heart, and to my weakness. I am not a St. Martha groupie for nothing. I want to do and fix and make things right and have things come to an orderly and appropriate (appropriate in my eyes, mind you) conclusion. I find it frustrating beyond belief to see so much that needs to be done--and so few hands doing it.

My biggest temptation is to despair. So much is wrong in this world, and curmudgeonly person that I am, I really only see it getting worse. I see my child and his children-some-day facing a world far less friendly to our beliefs than it was in my own day.

I think that they will end up living in a "marriage can be between anyone", euthanasia practicing, embryonic stem cell using, "don't talk about your faith it offends me" world. But it doesn't matter. My job is to work faithfully, believe in the living God and be the salt and light in a ever darkening world. And to keep remembering Who is in charge of this whole thing.

And to keep reminding myself that it's not me.

Fine Art Friday

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"It's raining, it's pouring......" OK, so maybe it's not pouring at the moment, but it is dripping and splashing and all wet around here. In Texas, at least around these parts, rain is always something to be welcomed, even if it does make your Friday errands a little sloshier.

So, the theme for today's Fine Art Friday? What else? RAIN!

Rain Dance, "The Red Umbrella"
Debra Hurd


Walking in the Spring Rain
Pihua Hsu


Rain is Coming
Yongsun Huang


Sailing Under the Rain
Yoichi Tanabe


In the Rain
Franz Marc


Spring Rain
Raymond Knaub


Purple Rain
Lili Vanderlaan


Encountering the Rain
Zui Chen

Blessings to you all on this nice, ducky Friday!

But here's the t-shirt I want tonight!



Smock and I certainly hope so!



how do i find this coolmoe cr*p? this is totally cool, if a little deceptive...

check out the popularity dialer. Have you ever been in a situation where you wished your cell phone would ring? Maybe you wanted to look extra important or popular on that hot date. Or maybe you just needed an excuse to escape from an unpleasant meeting.

see mamaT, i'm not nearly as popular as you thought!

Booking Through Thursday

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Where do you do most of your reading? Your favorite spot?

(And yes, I understand that these might not be the same thing--your favorite spot could be the beach, but you do most of your reading at home . . . in which case, tell me about both!)

I do most of my reading either in the brown leather chair in my office or in bed before I turn out the lights. Hence my problem with being sleepy more mornings than I would like to admit!

My favorite place to read, though? I don't think I have a favorite! I like to read anywhere! If I had to pick though, I think I'd pick bed. Bed on a day when I got to stay in it all day. With a Diet Coke with crushed ice beside me on my nightstand. And then I could take a nap. And then read some more.

Books #8-17 of 2007

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Boy, it's been awhile since I updated, hasn't it?

#8: Powder and Patch by Georgette Hayer. Hayer's first published novel. Cleone and Phillip are the ones destined to be together--but he loves living in the country, not in society. Cleone and Phillip's father want him to become more of a gentleman. This hurts his feelings, so he determines to beat them at their own game by becoming the dandiest dandy of them all. Of course then Cleone decides she liked him better before, but then you knew that, didn't you?
Wonderful, as usual.

#9: Northern Borders by Howard Frank Mosher. Vignettes from the life of Austen Kittridge, who goes up to Lost Nation in Kingdom County, Vermont and lives with his eccentric grandmother and grandfather. The story is as much about the place and a lost way of life as it is about the flesh and blood characters. Reminds me of Hassler, Russo, Gatreaux--who can write about a place and make it seem real. Thoroughly enjoyable.

#10: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I had to read this because my nephew, Jack, made me. He said it was the "best book he ever read" and cried every time he tried to talk about it for three days after he finished. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie (which I still haven't done). Good book, with a touching portrayal of a friendship between a boy and a girl. You probably already know what happens. If you don't, I won't spoil it for you. Zman says to go see the movie!

#11: Forever Odd by Dean Koontz. Sequal to Odd Thomas. Odd, now 21, gets involved with a truly evil woman who has kidnapped one of his best friends. He comes face to face with voodoo and finally has to kill three people to save his friend. He says he died in the process, but that they didn't want him yet on the other side. Not nearly as good as the first novel, but I still liked Odd enough to finish the book. I have the third book waiting on my shelves.

#12: Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough. A biography, or at least a partial one, of Theodore Roosevelt. McCullough was interested in his family life growing up, so the book only deals with the time from when Teddy was around 9 or 10 until he came back East from the Badlands to run for mayor of NYC. A fascinating look at a family and a way of life. The family was wealthy, and made two grand tours of Europe and Egypt--winter on the Nile anyone? I came away from this book wanting to read more about him. Thumbs up.

#13: Good People...From an Author's Life by Jon Hassler. A short memoir of sorts by one of my favorite authors. He didn't really want to write a full-fledged memoir, but someone asked him to write a little something about a good person he had known, and he thought that maybe he could do that and turn it into a little book. Very short chapters about the good people in his life, and an interesting discussion of people who are good at heart, or by nature, and those who are good because they know it is the right thing to do. Hassler sees the latter as maybe a bit more heroic than the first--simply because they have to really work at the virtue.

#14: Mom to Mom, Day to Day by Danielle Bean. See complete review below.

#15: The Cave by Jose Saramago. Our March book club book. Really more of an allegory than a story, the novel is about an elderly potter who lives in a village outside the futuristically modern Center, where everything is managed, cleaned, and virtual-realityed. By tying the story in with Plato's allegory of the cave, Saramago wants us to see that in our materialistic, play-like, plastic world we are really no different that Plato's chained captives looking at shadows on the wall. A challenging book to read--it engendered the most discussion we've had at book club in a long time. I was surprised by that.

16: Venetia by Georgette Hayer. Another lovely romance. This time the beautiful Venetia, a Yorkshire girl of 25 catches the eye of the notorious rake, Jasper Damerel, who owns the property next over. He determines to seduce her, but falls in love. To save her from the scandal that would ensue from her marrying him, he tells her it wasn't meant to be. She wins him back with the help of her long lost oh-so-scandalous mama.

17. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Now, I loved her book Gilead. So, when I found this at Half Price Books some time ago, I added it to my To Be Read shelves. I'll say this. While the novels are both beautifully written, I wouldn't advise reading Housekeeping if you are prone to depression. This was the most depressing book I've read in years. I don't even feel like writing about it, because it will simply dredge up the sadness all over again. Let's just say it's a novel about isolation, loneliness and those who just can't fit into society and are forever drifting along the edges. 'Nuff said.

To get over the sadness of the above, I am off to thrown myself into Master and Commander and escape the world as we know it.......

Thumbs up from MamaT

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If you want a taste of Bollywood meets Jane Austen, I heartily recommend this wonderful film. Is it lasting cinema? No. But it's probably the most fun you'll have watching stunningly beautiful people sing and dance in houses, on the streets and on the beach. Watch it when you need a popcorn movie and to dance along with the music.

The story is based loosely on Pride and Prejudice, but that's not important. What's important is the singing and the dancing and the beautiful costumes.

Plus, who should appear in the movie (to my surprise, I promise I didn't know before I rented the movie!) but the man I consider to be the sexiest man on television at the moment:


Naveen Andrews--who dances like a maniac in this. And I prefer to assume it wasn't a stunt double doing it.

Not fully Bollywood. But it'll give you a taste of what it's about.

And remember the movie's money quote: You know what they say. No life without wife.


.....but life got in the way.

I was sent a copy of Danielle Bean's new book Mom to Mom, Day to Day: Advice and Support for Catholic Living. I finished it some time ago, but life has conspired to keep me away from my desk.

Danielle Bean is a lot of things that I am not. She is young. I am not. She's a cradle Catholic. I am not. She is the mother of many. I am not. She's a good writer. I am not.

But for all that, reading this book made me know that I would like Danielle very much in person. There are shelf-loads of books on Catholic wife-and-mother-hood that strike me as very pious, some of them crossing the border into sanctimony. My joke has always been in response to those kinds of books (and you know exactly what I'm talking about) that if I ever wrote a book it would start it with the sentence "I live in a house covered with white dog hair....."

Well, Danielle's book doesn't start with that sentence, but I know she would relate. The book is short, and the chapters are short. They are aimed directly at that mother with toddlers around her feet who is wondering what in the world she has gotten herself into. Dipping into a chapter of this book would be a refreshment to that soul--and the chapter is short enough to read in the bathroom if one had to!

It doesn't hurt that Danielle has written chapters that touch very closely on the things that I tell young married women over and over again. She writes very strongly about the division of labor in the family, not keeping score, keeping in mind the nature of vocation (and why you're doing this!), and making your husband feel important. Key points that are often forgotten in the discussions of "sharing the labor" in women's magazines. She writes about housework--and is clear that it is neither always fun nor always easy.

More than anything, Danielle would make a young mother know she was not alone. And in a world where women with more than 2 kids are faced with questions and judgement everytime they step out the door, this is a very good thing indeed. I think it's a great addition to any shower present you might be giving someone.

I wish I were smart enough to have written it!

In honor of the Annunciation of the Lord

Tyrus Clutter

This image, and a bunch of other interesting ones, can be seen at the CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) website. The current exhibition is Highly Favored: Contemporary Images Of The Virgin Mary.



(HT to Alicia for this one!)


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just for fun, i took the "what religion am i" quiz at here are my "top 5" results:

1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (100%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (91%)
4. Seventh Day Adventist (79%)
5. Orthodox Quaker (74%)

according to the website, even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing. take a gander here if you're curious.

From the McKid

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The McKid is busy "reading" to me every chance she gets. She can't really read yet, so she just holds the book in front of her and makes up a story as she goes along.

She is currently in the midst of relating a multi-part story (think serialized--like Dickens used to be) about a group of girls (she, herself, is included in this group) called the Muchachas. The Muchachas are out busy having numerous highly improbably adventures--all of which end with eating snacks or telling each other they're sorry for something.

Today's edition contained the following:

The Muchachas were busy trying to find something to do. In fact [insert very dramatic pause and sigh here] the main Muchacha was very, very fond of herself.


So, they decided to go on a trip. But it was all wonky. Wonky, wonky, wonky.

They went home and ate gummie snacks and watched a movie.

The end.

So far as I know, we are the only family hearing a Spanish-British telenovela plotline.

And no, I hardly ever use the word wonky.

This is why.....

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.....I read the superfantastic Manolo the Shoeblogger every chance I get. Where else can you read this?

Manolo says, oh how the Manolo remembers his own high school prom; it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

On the one of the hands the Manolo used the occasion to dress up in his finest frock coat and striped trousers, complete with the spats, the top hat, and the fancy walking stick. He looked like the seventeen-year-old version of the Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly.

Yet, on the other of the hands, because no one had actually consented to go to the prom with the Manolo, he was forced to stand outside the gymnasium and make the snide remarks to himself about those who were entering.

Or this:

As we all know, historically, the typical dress of the bridesmaid employed such undermining tactics as the over abundance of rump-enlargening ruffles, and the strategically misplaced, bust-minimizing wickety-wack, to make the attendants look faintly (if not explicity) ridiculous.

Naturally, the good friends endured this humiliation, safe in the knowledge that, someday, this bride would herself be wearing the ridiculous dress in someone else’s wedding. And thus the circle of fashion violence remained unbroken

Genius. And beautiful shoes. What more could a girl want?

Fine Art Friday

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This week I'd like to showcase another of my favorite illustrators. My library in my hometown had lots of books illustrated by N. C. Wyeth (and his mentor, Howard Pyle--maybe I'll focus on him next week). It was a good day when I could get hold of one of these illustrated classics. What's not to like about the dramatic and dynamic manly-man world portrayed? Let's stroll down memory lane and look at some of the illustrations:


Crusoe's Raft


Excalibur Acquired


The Last of the Mohicans


William Wallace


Pirate's Captive


Robin Hood

And finally, because the Mamas are nothing if not proudly parochial:

Last Stand at the Alamo

.....the way us Anglican Use Catlicks pray it, you can go here and buy a copy of the Anglican Use Office, which is much, much, much easier to hold and use than the Book of Divine Worship.

Not that I'm dissin' the BODW, but it is a little frightening looking when you hand it to people. And you could break your foot if you dropped the darn thing!

Anyway, we got our copies in at church the other day, and it is fabulous, although it seems odd to me to put the Psalter first, then the rest of the stuff. To me that's backwards, but maybe that's just 'cause I'm used to doing it the other way.

The book is $40 hardcover, but you can download it for cheap.

Run go get it and join me for Evening Prayer at 6 p.m.

Booking Through Thursday

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Let's see, questions this week are:

1. Short Stories? Or full-length novels?

I prefer the novel, and usually the longer the better. Except those Russian guys. I tried Crime and Punishment yet again last year, only to fail miserably again. I don't think I can read the Russians--I'm temperamentally unsound or something.

But a good book of short stories can be a joy. I personally recommend Tim Gatreaux's collections: Welding With Children and Same Place, Same Things. The boy can write Louisiana. And he gets, to a T, the difference between Louisiana and Texas (which is BIG).

I'd also recommend Jumpara Lahiri's short stories. As the Smock would say: Fab. You. Luss.

2. And, what's your favorite source for short stories? (You know, if you read them.)

Luck. Poking around 1/2 Price Books.

first let me begin by saying, i will admit that i must be old. i just don't understand modern music lyrics. given that they aren't too loud to understand as they're gasping for life beneath a blare of bass, that they aren't just overtly stupid, and that they aren't downright repugnant, they're simply ... well, dare i say it, simple. bland. trite?

this is coming from a woman who has never claimed to be a music lover in general as well as a woman who has never had an ear for country music in particular. i know. you're asing yourself, smockmomma? a complete texaphile who doesn't like country music? it's sad but true.

until now that is. you see, relatively late in life, i think that i've discovered that country music is the absolute last bastion for clever lyrics. if you don't believe me, tune in to your local country station. even the young whippersnappers are writing catchy, fun, or thought-provoking lyrics. i leave you with just one fun example:

All My Exes
George Strait

All my ex's live in Texas,
And Texas is a place I'd dearly love to be.
But all my ex's live in Texas
And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee.

Rosanna's down in Texarkana; wanted me to push her broom,
And sweet Ilene's in Abilene; she forgot I hung the moon,
And Allison in Galveston somehow lost her sanity,
And Dimples who now lives in Temple's got the law lookin’ for me.

All my ex's live in Texas,
And Texas is a place I'd dearly love to be.
But all my ex's live in Texas
And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee.

I remember that old Frio river where I learned to swim.
And it brings to mind another time where I wore my welcome thin.
My transcendental meditation, I go there each night,
But I always come back to myself long before daylight.

All my ex's live in Texas,
And Texas is a place I'd dearly love to be.
But all my ex's live in Texas
And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee.

Some folks think I'm hidin',
It's been rumored that I died,
But I'm alive and well in Tennessee.

A little thought.......


.....from our Friday night Lenten supper program:

"Dying to self is never fatal."

Perhaps I should embroider that on a pillow, or even better, tattoo it on my forehead backwards so that I can read it every day in my mirror, and get on with the business of actually doing it.

St. Patrick, pray for us!

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Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

A little something for TSO!

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There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head-
If a man doesn't drink when he's living,
How the hell can he drink when he's dead?

Just so you know!

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Your Irish Name Is...
Sinead Healy

And, just because I love you.......


......go here and see a beautiful website of Spring haiku and stunning photos. It's worth your trip!

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Fine Art Friday

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What other subject could we have today besides this one?

Here is perhaps a stereotypical first choice, but I do love my Monet!

Claude Monet

Next, an image I had never seen before. Not that that is particularly hard to do, but part of the delight of Fine Art Friday for me has been seeing so much that is new!

Lake George, Early Moonrise, Spring 1930
Georgia O'Keefe

Next, a very traditional image. I usually only think of generic Christmas cards and cookie tin lids when I think of Currier and Ives. It's nice to see a different season!

Currier and Ives

I like this next image very much. I am so not a gardener of any sort, but I admire those who are! I like the kiddo pulling down the flowery branches--that is what McKid would be doing, if we had any in our yard!

Spring in Town
Grant Wood

This next image is for the Smock, who likes Dali. But I don't know if she'll like this one! I do, and I'm surprised by that.

Days of Spring
Salvador Dali

And finally, what could the Summas end with but this one? Yee haw!

Texas Spring
Robert Wood

Happy Spring, ya'll! Pass me the kleenex and the allergy medicine!

Book review update up soon.......


.......but not now, because we've had company all of spring break and I've had more "real" work to do this past week, getting caught up with some stuff. By Monday or so we'll be more back to normal.

Booking through Thursday

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Found this at a cool little site. What could be more perfect for us to add on Thursdays? Questions for today:

1. Speaking of writing in books [Note: last weeks' questions were about whether you wrote in your books or not], what about writing the entire thing? Do you write? Aspire to write? Dream about writing?

Nope. Not any more than I already do. As you can see, it is most definitely not my gift or talent!

2. If you do write, do you do it for yourself, or because you hope to be published? (Or because you ARE published?)

See above--this is all the publishing I desire. Which is a good thing, since it's all I'll ever get!

Worth a read

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Movies That Changed my Life by Jeffrey Overstreet, one of the critics for the Christianity Today movies website/newsletter. He has a new book out: Through a Screen Darkly.

300: a smockperspective

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sure critics tore "300" to shreds, calling it "overscaled and overwrought" and a "visually dull picture." the fact that the movie then quickly banked $70 million speaks volumes. all i have to say is that the critics must be totally high. actually, this movie is so masculine and so heterosexual you can smell the spartan testosterone all the way from the audience. no wonder the critics hate it so much.


300 is based on frank miller's graphic novel which is based on the ancient battle of thermopylae in which king leonidas (deftly portrayed by gerard butler) and 300 spartans fought to the death for democracy and freedom against the "godking" xerxes and his massive persian army. yes, this is a film based on a graphic novel. that is the beauty behind 300's incredible film techniques which mix live action and virtual backgrounds to bring the novelist's vision to life.


from a catholic perspective, it is an emotional portrayal of a cohesive unit. spartan boys are trained to live and fight as "one" and to live or die for one another. the women wait for the men at home, caring for their young ones. but, heads up, ladies: some of the most intense scenes involve the fiesty queen gorgo (played by the beautiful lena headey - whom i remember from the merchant-ivory classic "remains of the day"), the embodiment of the strong, sexy spartan wife and mother. king xerxes and his minions are portrayed as whorish, evil, and eerily effeminate. caveat: after you get a look into the debauchery that lies in xerxes' camp, you may have a sudden urge to take a shower to remove the grit.


smockdaddy, who has read several accounts of the battle at thermopylea, has seen the epic twice and thinks it's a visually stunning film with incredible battle sequences and shakespearean dialogue. i think it is a very seductive, very intense movie that i look forward to seeing again...hopefully at IMAX. how coolmoe would that be?

the bottom line: this movie is an intense action film about a very bloody battle and it does not disappoint.

*rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.


(You can make your own cover here.)


Evil walks among us. We don’t always see it. Each of us, in our daily lives, encounters evil; we are tempted to evil every day of our lives. If we don’t want to read about it or think about it, I don’t think that’s a truly Christian point of view. We have to acknowledge it, face it and defeat it. That’s what each of my books is about.

The above is a quote from the Dean Koontz interview on National Catholic Register. I also liked this one:

Many writers are nihilists or at the least cynics. They deny that spiritual, moral and cultural truths exist. If you believe life is meaningless, what have you left to say as a writer? Nothing interesting. Nihilism is the philosophy of perpetual adolescence.

HT: People of the Book, link to the left.

My Bible study group....

| | Comments (2) such a blessing to me. We meet every Sunday morning at 9:15, and have been doing so for at least 4 years now. We've been through a lot of different studies--we've tried Catholic Exchange, Little Rock, 6 Weeks with..., and now we're working through a few of the Threshold Bible Studies.

Currently we're doing The People of the Passion. Fortuitous for Lent, no? And we didn't even really plan it that way. The study is interesting, because it looks at the stories contained within the passion narrative--focusing on each individual and his action at a given point in time. I'm not explaining that well. We focus on Peter--but not all of Peter's story at one time. Just one action at a time: "You will never wash my feet", "I will never deny you", Peter falls asleep in the Garden, Peter picks up the sword, "I don't know the man", etc. Each would be a separate daily lesson, sprinkled among other stories of other people.

A kaleidescope, you might say. And always the question is, "Where would I be in this story. What would I be doing?

I've heard it before, you know. (We won't go into whether I've said it, or thought it, before, OK?) "Oh, how I wish I could have lived in Jesus' time, because then it would be so much easier to believe!"


No it wouldn't. It wasn't for Adam and Eve. It wasn't for the Israelites. It wasn't for the disciples. It wouldn't be for me.

Whatever his motivations, Judas wanted a different Jesus. So did all the other disciples. And so, most of the time, do I. We all want the Jesus without the cross. We all want to find our way to heaven without doing what he told us was the way to get there.

"Pick up your cross and follow me."

Everything's good 'til we get to that darn Way of the Cross.

My crosses are light, others are dealing with issues mind-numbingly worse (see, for example, Melanie over at Wine Dark Sea, though there might be a little light on that situation). But I'm not gonna lie, they're still crosses, and I still don't wanna carry 'em. I don't. I'm tired. I want a little of the "health, wealth and prosperity gospel" to shower down on me.

When I was younger, I read M. Scott Peck's book The Road Less Traveled. I wrote a book review that started out disagreeing with the very first sentence of the book. In my foolish, foolish youth, I couldn't believe the premise. And the premise? That first line I so disagreed with?

"Life is hard."

And now I look back and laugh. Yep. It's hard. What I know now that I didn't know then is that hard doesn't mean unhappy all the time. Hard doesn't mean joyless. Hard certainly doesn't mean without fun.

But, yeah, life is hard.

And I'm a big baby and wish it weren't.

And I'm like Judas. I want Jesus to be what I want him to be, not who he is.

Thank goodness He still loves me anyway.

Just a reminder!

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Maybe I Should Get Some Sleep

Vicky Brago-Mitchell

Today is National Napping Day! I could use one NOW, but I will wait until after lunch and take a nap with the McKid. Let's hear it for a less stressful, more peaceful time.

Fine Art Friday

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Today, I'm doing something a little different. A single artist with a single theme! I've long been a fan of women illustrators/painters, and Jessie Wilcox-Smith is a big star in that group. She illustrated numerous fairy tale books, Dickens books, some of George MacDonald's books (like The Princess and the Goblin), and was a prodigious women's magazine cover painter. The theme I've chose for today will be self evident. Enjoy!

Books in Winter

Good Housekeeping, November 1921

Good Housekeeping, June 1925

Good Housekeeping, February 1920


Good Housekeeping, September 1926

And the bonus image for today is not a picture of someone reading, but it is an illustration by Smith for a book of fairy tales. I love this image, and it makes the big, bad, wolf really big and bad!

Red Riding Hood

Happy Friday, ya'll! Be careful about stopping to talk with strangers! Especially if they've got sharp teeth and red tongues!

okay, so i no longer have to hang my head in shame when i see something like this parody of "pimp my ride"* ...

mom my ride

... i now feel that i have a relatively immaculate ride, aka the newly christened smockmom-mobile.

*for those of you without children under the age of, oh let's say 21, to "pimp a ride" means to deck out or accessorize your vehicle with appropriate gizmos and gadgetry.

Sunday's hymns


Someone reminded me that I had not been posting our hymns and wanted me to start again. So, here's what we sang on Sunday:


’Tis good, Lord, to be here,
Thy glory fills the night;
Thy face and garments, like the sun,
Shine with unborrowed light.

’Tis good, Lord, to be here,
Thy beauty to behold
Where Moses and Elijah stand,
Thy messengers of old.

Fulfiller of the past,
Promise of things to be,
We hail Thy body glorified
And our redemption see.

Before we taste of death,
We see Thy kingdom come;
We fain would hold the vision bright
And make this hill our home.

’Tis good, Lord, to be here.
Yet we may not remain;
But since Thou bidst us leave the mount,
Come with us to the plain.

Sung to Carlisle.

Offertory was one that I do not like, and it is still under copyright, so I can't post it here. Yeehaw! I should also say that I feel very lucky, really blessed, that I only can say that one or two times a year at SMV, and then usually only over 1 hymn out of the 4 we sing every week.

Communion hymn was:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise;
in deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee;
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity
interpreted by love!
interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace;
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm;
O still, small voice of calm.

We sing this to Repton. And, by the way, did you know the words are by John Greenleaf Whittier? My favorite line of the whole thing is "reclothe us in our rightful mind"--the acknowledgement, to me, that we are not what we were meant to be.

And then we ended with this one:

O wondrous type! O vision fair
of glory that the Church may share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!

The law and prophets there have place,
the chosen witnesses of grace;
the Father's voice from our the cloud
proclaims his only Son aloud.

With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest today
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.

And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision's mystery;
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymns of praise.

O Father, with the eternal Son,
and Holy Spirit, ever One,
vouchsafe to bring us by thy grace
to see thy glory face to face.

Sung to Wareham at SMV.

Mark your calendars!

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Monday, March 12, is National Napping Day. That's the day after we "spring forward" into Daylight Savings Time, so it's an appropriate day to take a nap, no?

Here at the Mamas, we'll be celebrating with naps all 'round, and we ask you to celebrate with us, if you can.

Days like this shouldn't go unmarked. In the fast-paced world that we operate in, it's high time to take a few minutes away and dream a little.

So mark your calendars for next Monday. And SLEEP!

If you're a listmaker like me.....

| might want to check out Listography. Your lists don't have to be public--but it's kind of interesting to browse through other people's lists.

Hat tip to Lacey, one of our commenters, for this.

I decided to do this week's Fine Art Friday on a subject that will simply make Erik K's head pop right off his shoulders. Last time we had any sort of extended discussion on this subject, he threatened an intervention. Wonder what he'll do this time? The subject? Why, SHOES, of course!

First, an image dear to the heart of many a little girl. What other than the real Cinderella shoe?

Glass Slipper
Martin Paul

Next an image from that artist that I can't seem to get away from. How come he has an image of every subject that I happen to pick? Am I channeling him?

Diamond Dust Shoes
Andy Warhol

The Mamas love all things retro and girly. How could we resist this lovely image that is so, so both?

Retro Heels III
Trish Biddle

The following image memorializes both the Mamas' favorite summer shoes. We'd like two pair, please. Oh, and do they come in pink with the fabulous beads?

Purple Flip Flops
Paul Brent

I like this image. I always wanted these shoes when I was in high school, but I didn't want 'em in black, which was the only color they came in, back in the day. And, yeah, I'm old. Now these? I would have taken them in a heart beat!

Converse on Tangerine
Bella Bruce

Now, this next image is the absolute dream of my 6th grade year. We watched Hullabaloo on television and dreamed of being the girls dancing on the big letters in shoes just like these!

Go Go
Darrin Hoover

Now, the Mamas are proudly, and loudly, Texan, and there is nothing more Texan than boots. My husband, ex-Yankee that he is, swore that he would never, ever, ever wear one of those ugly pairs of boots. Well, ha, ha. That didn't last too very long. He's had boots in his closet for a good looooong time now.

Boots I
Kathleen Lack

And, finally, an entry by an artist the Mamas just love. You can find a whole portfolio of her stuff if you go here. I think that they are genius!

Poppy Paisley Stiletto
Elena Feliciano

And, finally, the bonus entry. The one you've been waiting for. The image of the most famous shoes evah!. And remember, only Judy Garland could get away with ankle socks with sparkly pumps.

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Happy Friday, ya'll. Slip on some dancin' shoes and have a great weekend!

Today is First Friday


We have committed to fasting and praying for an end of abortion on the first Friday of each month, in solidarity with other Dallas area bloggers. You can read our statement here. Every first Friday, we'll remind you, and post a prayer here that we hope you will join with us in praying.

A Prayer for the End of Abortion:

Lord God, I thank You today for the gift of my life and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that You have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

And the Summa Mamas add: Amen, Lord!

We are so proud to join this!


While the Summa Mamas do not live in the Diocese of Dallas, we do live right next door. We were honored to be asked to join in with this, and we gladly do so:

A Joint Statement
By Catholic bloggers of the Dallas area

Is there a phrase more infamous than “Roe versus Wade”?

The principal people involved in this most infamous legal case were from Dallas. “Roe” is a pseudonym for Dallas resident Norma McCorvey. Henry Wade was the Dallas district attorney who filed the original charges in the case.

It all began here – in our home town, where we raise our families, where we go to church, where we live, and love, and learn, and work.

We are three bloggers who also live in the Dallas area. We are deeply committed to ending abortion in this country. To that end, we have committed ourselves to the following: On each First Friday for the next eleven months, we will fast and pray for the intention of ending abortion. This will culminate at the annual Dallas March for Life in January of 2008, where we will join our bishop and the faithful of this city in marching to the courthouse where Roe was originally argued.

We ask anyone reading these words to join us. Fast and pray with us each First Friday, no matter how far removed you are from Dallas, for an end to abortion. We especially ask other Dallas area bloggers and residents to join us, at least in spirit.

We will not win this battle in the courts. We will not win this battle in the media. We will not win this battle in any earthly way. We will only win through prayer, fasting, and devotion to Christ.

It began here. Let it end here.

Jesus, we trust in you.

Mark Windsor – Rafting the Tiber
Julie Davis – Happy Catholic
Laura Hughey – ...and if not...

Joining the Battle:

Est Puzzlementem
Terry and Micki - The Summa Mamas
Catholic Pro Life Commitee

Tomorrow, we will begin our First Friday devotions. I will dedicate my hour of Adoration to this. Micki will dedicate the diapers she has to change and the clothes she has to wash. We'll remind you tomorrow, but please join us in praying for an end to violence against our smallest and most helpless.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

.....when you find yourself looking at shoes on the Zappos website at 7 in the morning.

I don't know why I'm in such a funk--lots of things going on, but nothing I have much control over. So this morning, I sat down to read the headlines (depressing enough, that) but got up after 5 minutes to wander. Finally sat down at the computer, tried to read something uplifting. Couldn't. Wandered over to Zappos to look at shoes.

Looking at shoes usually brings me right around. I don't know why. As I sit here typing, I am wearing a doggy looking pair of walking shoes--because I will go walking with a friend later this morning. What I mean is that I'm certainly not a shoe fashionista myself. But I look at them and dream....

It says something about my funk that I had to look at 25 pages of shoes (12 to a page) before I found a pair I wanted.

So, if you'd like to contribute to the "get MamaT out of her funk by buying her a fun pair of shoes" fund, here's what you could get:


Ah, well, I'll be better tomorrow! Pray for me, if'n you get a chance!



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