MamaT: May 2004 Archives

The Visitation


In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Luke 1:39-43

Never forget. It ain't free.

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'Nuff said.

This one goes best with a cold beer, or two, or three......

You Never Even Called Me By My Name

Written By Steve Goodman
As Recorded By David Allan Coe

Well, it was all
That I could do to keep from cryin'
Sometimes it seemed so useless to remain
But you don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even call me by my name

You don't have to call me Waylon Jennings
And you don't have to call me Charlie Pride
And you don't have to call me Merle Haggard Anymore
Even though you're on my fightin' side.

And I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standin' in the rain
But you don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even called me by my name

Well, I've heard my name
A few times in your phone book (Hello, Hello)
And I've seen it on signs where I've played
But the only time I know
I’ll hear "David Allan Coe"
Is when Jesus has his final judgment day.


Well, a freind of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song and he told me it was the perfectcountry and western song.

I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was NOT the perfect country and western song because he hadn't said anything at all about Mama,
Or Trains,
Or Trucks,
Or Prison,
Or gettin' drunk.

Well he sat down and wrote another verse to the song, and he sent it to me,
and after reading it, I realized that my friend had written the perfect country and western song and I felt obliged to include it on this album

The last verse goes like this here:

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train!


And I'll hang around as long as you will let me.
And I never minded standin' in the rain.
No, you don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even call me
Well I wonder why you don't call me
Why don't you ever call me by my name?

Happy Birthday, GKC!


"Do not enjoy yourself. Enjoy dances and theaters and joy-rides and champagne and oysters; enjoy jazz and cocktails and night-clubs if you can enjoy nothing better; enjoy bigamy and burglary and any crime in the calendar, in preference to the other alternative; but never learn to enjoy yourself." - The Common Man

My idea of romance!

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Oh this is the night, it's a beautiful night And we call it bella notte Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes On this lovely bella notte. Side by side with your loved one, You'll find enchantment here. The night will weave its magic spell, When the one you love is near! Oh this is the night, and the heavens are right! On this lovely bella notte!

With all the talk of Lady and the Tramp below, I just had to post this. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! I love the Siamese Cats--"We are Siamese if you please. We are Siamese if you don't please." I love Peggy Lee singing "He's a Tramp". I cry over the bloodhound run over by the cab even now! I love the cute puppies at the end!!!

My whole idea of what love and romance was supposed to be about as a kid came from this movie. But PapaC and I have never yet smooched over a strand of spaghetti. And that's just too, too sad. is the link to the list of Sparknote titles: Barnes &

And, to prove that I'm serious about my summer reading, I started Crime and Punishment after supper tonight. I've read almost NO Russian literature. Maybe the only thing Russian I've read is Anna Karenina. This will be a new experience.

.....for classic Disney videos. Her favorites at the moment? "Puppies" (101 Dalmations--the animated version, not that weird live action one), "Booty" (Beauty and the Beast), and "No What" (Snow White).

Yesterday I asked her what the Puppies story was. A model of concision:

"Puppies running. Puppies watching TV. Puppies sleeping. Puppies in big truck."

Yep, I'd say that's about it. of course I was drawn to this column: Mike S. Adams: Summer reading

I think he is exactly right: focus less on current issues and modern "literature", and reorient toward the classics.

So, just for grins, I went out to the Sparknotes site and printed off their list of titles. 159 in all. I have read 68 of them. Actually, I've read more than that, but some of them I read so long ago that I no longer have any useful memory of what they were about. So I didn't count them.

I think I'll pick up a few this weekend at 1/2 Price Books!

But pretty soon, I will have printed out more reading lists than I have books! (And that's a lot.) Maybe I'm a book LIST collector, more than a book collector.

From the Bruderhof today...

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....a thought worth thinking:

Elisabeth Elliot

Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last. Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others. Above all, do something for somebody else!

I really like Elisabeth Elliot. She used to have a radio show on one of the Christian radio stations around here. She was so sensible about so many things, so loving. Her program began with a few lines from that Protestant classic hymn, Everlasting Arms. I love that.

One of the things that she was very much in favor of (and with which I heartily agree) was having children memorize hymns. It was her opinion that #1, the memorization was good for them and #2, a good hymn has concise theology, easy to remember and #3, that in times of trouble or sorrow, having these things memorized would provide strength and comfort.

This is why all those stupid hymns so prevalent today (but not at St. Mary's thank goodness) are a tragedy. First, they are no challenge to memorize. Second, they are theologically suspect. Third, they aren't very comforting. In an hour of pain, "Eagles Wings" stands no contest to "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Sorry, it just doesn't.

17th book of 2004 finished!

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Boy, this no TV thing is standing me in pretty good stead!

Book finished? A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle. Some of you may know Peter Mayle as the author of A Year in Provence.

Very short, very funny. The dog's life written by the dog. Reminded me a great deal of reading Thurber. Nothing earth-shatteringly meaningful, but if you need an escape, a book to read on a cruise, on a plane, or at the pool, check this one out! Oh, and illustartions are by Edward Koren (whom I grew to enjoy from his New Yorker cartoons).

Here's a little excerpt from the chapter "Mano a Mano with the Cat in the Garage" (It probably helps that I am definitely a dog person rather than a cat person!):

...I never cease to marvel at the popularity enjoyed by Felis domesticus. What is he, after all, but an antisocial fur ball with delusions of superiority?

The rot started thousands of years ago, as any historian will tell you, with the Egyptians. For some reason--addled brains due to the climate, possibly, or madness brought on by building too many pyramids--they elevated the status of the cat from common mouse catcher to religious object, protector of the Pharaoh's Kitty Litter and icon in chief. Cats, of course, being altogether too pleased with themselves from birth onward, took this as their due and lorded it over the desert sands, taking a front seat at King Tut's dinner parties, having their paws annointed with sacred unguents, giving up mousing for a life of idleness, and generally being obnoxious. And that has been their lot ever since.

When the rule of the Pharaohs collapsed--which it was bound to do, given the misguided people in charge--you might have thought that the world would have learned a simple lesson in cause and effect: Namely, cat worshipers come to a sticky end. The best they can hope for is a full-length bandage and parking space in a badly ventilated tomb. And another thing: You won't find Tiddles curled up at their feet in eternal loyalty. If he's given half a chance, he's off looking for the next soft touch.

The first book written, you're perhaps the most well-known of the Chronicles. From Mr. Tumnus to Turkish Delight, statue people to Aslan's resurrection, there's nothing not to like here.

Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

16th Book of 2004 finished

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OK, this one will prove that I am the geek girl: Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World's Toughest Math Competition by Steve Olson.

The book is framed by a story about the 6 American high school students who took place in the international Mathematical Olympiad. It is an interesting look at those kids, but it is more than that--there are side riffs on questions of "inborn ability vs. work", the predominance of males in math competitions and the reasons for that, the role of creativity in problem solving, and more.

And, of course, there are the 6 problems that must be solved during the competition. But the actual mathematics is kept to a minimum--with the answers mostly kept in the appendix, so that you can skim over them if you want.

The book looks at each of the six competitors in conjunction with a trait: Insight, Competitiveness, Talent, Creativity, Breadth, and a Sense of Wonder. The author has associated one of those traits with each competitor and uses him (they were all boys) as an example of that trait.

The most interesting one to me was the chapter on talent: Were these kids "born that way", with the ability (honed by practice) to do what they do? Or could anyone do it, given the hours of practice? I had always thought that it was pretty clear that there was some level of inborn talent, probably a good amount. I was surprised to read the skeptics of that "inborn talent" view. Michael Howe, who was a professor of psychology at the University of Exeter in England until his death a few months after the 42nd Math Olympiad wrote a long series of articles of articles and books "arguing vigorously against what he called the "talent account": the idea that just a few people are born with a special mental capacity that enables them to achieve high levels of performance in a particular field."

"Studies of other fields have produced similar results. It takes about ten years of dedicated practice to become a high-level chess player, ballerina, physicist, or mathematician; even the youngest member of the U.S. Olympiad team, Tiankai Liu, had been thinking deeply about mathematics for more than ten years. In a study of seventy-six major composers, all but three had spent at least ten years composing before they began to produce major works, and the three exceptions (Dimitri Shostakovich, Miccolo Paganini, and Erik Satie) took nine years. 'Although it is widely believed that certain gifted individuals can excel without doing the lengthy practice that ordinary people have to engage in, the evidence contradicts that view,' Howe concluded."

I'm not convinced by their arguments, but it was interesting to me to run into a view that I had NEVER considered. And I think Howe was right to focus on the immense amount of work that went into making these "prodigies" the successes they were. Most of the prodigy examples used were so immersed in their field of interest that it is not surprising they look so advanced to the "average" person. If all of us spent hours every day involved in some field (whatever field) for years on end, we would look like geniuses as well.

It seems to me the missing component might be 2 things: The discipline to focus on one field for a huge amount of time, and the ability to put other things aside to do that. Not many of us have the discipline to focus that intently. And certainly most of us making our way in the world do not have the ability to put on hold the rest of our lives to focus on an interest. Even if I wanted to, I no longer have the time to "think deeply" (as the author of the book keeps saying) about issues for hours at a time.....

Anyway, if you're a geek like me, it's an interesting book. I'm glad I read it.

ONE of today's great hymns

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Oremus Hymnal: Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor

Words: George Hugh Bourne, 1874
Music: St. Helen
Meter: 87 87 444 77

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people's head.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith's discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse's stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

Go to the Oremus website above to hear the MIDI for the tune, if you don't already know it!

.....a quote from Belloc:

What! here are we with the jolly world of God all round us, able to sing, to draw, to paint, to hammer and build, to sail, to ride horses, to run, to leap; having for our splendid inheritance love in youth and memory in old age, and we are to take one miserable little faculty, our one-legged, knock-kneed, gimcrack, purblind, rough-skinned, underfed, and perpetually irritated and grumpy intellect, or analytical curiosity rather (a diseased appetite), and let it swell till it eats up every other function? Away with such foolery... Note that pedants lose all proportion. They never can keep sane in a discussion. They will go wild on matters they are wholly unable to judge, such as Armenian Religion or the Politics of Paris or what not. Never do they use one of those three phrases which keep a man steady and balance his mind, I mean the words (1) After all it is not my business. (2) Tut! tut! You don't say so! and (3) Credo in Unum Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, Factorem omnium visibilium atque invisibilium; in which last there is a power of synthesis that can jam all their analytical dust-heap into such a fine, tight, and compact body as would make them stare to see. I understand [professors] need six months' holiday a year. Had I my way they should take twelve, and an extra day on leap years. --Hilaire Belloc

Here's to a Saturday filled with cleaning and crocheting and painting and cooking and eating and laughing. And remembering to say "Tut! Tut! You don't say!" And leaving it at that!

This is an interesting concept

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I found this via my library's web site. It is an online "preview reading" group. You go to the website, select what kind of books you like from the genres listed, and then M-F they send you a chapter a day from a book. You read the equivalent of 3 or 4 chapters over the course of the week. Then, if you are interested in continuing, you can go check it out of the library. I've signed up for the nonfiction, fiction and mystery lists. Sometimes I can tell from the first chapter that I'm not interested, so I just delete for the rest of the week, knowing that a new book will start on the following Monday.

Since I'm signed up through my library website, if I want to reserve the book after reading a few chapters, there is a link back to my home library's catalog. If you sign up through this main website, that option is not available.

Anyway, check it out!

Dear Reader book clubs

Excellent article

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On Male Friendship

Applicable, I think, not just to men. Even women's friendships have become more sparse, harder to maintain in this increasingly busy world.

Thanks to the Sleepy Mommies for the heads up on the article!

If you sew, crochet, or knit...

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.....and want to help a worthy cause, please consider this:

Threads of Love

They help hospitals provide for preemie babies and their families. They also have a secondary ministry preparing burial gowns and wrappers for infants who die after birth, are stillborn or are miscarried.

There are chapters located around the country. I just contacted our Arlington chapter - they meet just once a month. But you can sew, crochet or knit at home and send them your stuff to be taken to the hospital.

They are multi-denominational--the chapter in my city meets at a Methodist church, but browsing through the listing of chapters, they pretty much run the gamut.

Here's a way to support a very pro-life cause, in a very hands on way.

My 25th anniversary!

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Wednesday, May 19th, is our 25th anniversary!

Dearest CAS: So we're no longer as skinny as the couple in the picture above! But I love you more than I did then. Here's to the next phase of our lives. There's no one I'd rather spend my time with. No one. I am truly the luckiest of women. I love you!

You gotta love it!


...Listening to the Texas Honky Tonk radio show Sunday night while working on parish financial reports, I heard a song I'd never heard before. Made me snort my Fresca right up my nose. I mean, honestly, how many songs are there with a title anything like "You Mangled My Dog"? Sung by Terri Hendrix, here are the lyrics:

You Mangled My Dog
Don Metz

Out of state license plates
Mercedes Benz
A slick city lawyer
And his slick city friends
Came down my road
Like a train on the tracks
And left my poor dog
In a ditch on his back

I jumped in my pick-up
And I followed that car
I met them just after
They'd stopped at the bar
I slid in behind them
And this lawyer turned red
I grabbed his silk necktie
And here's what I said

You mangled my dog
You son of a bitch
You left him for dead
On his back in a ditch

You miserable coward
You never turned back around
Now I'll do to you
What you did to my hound

Well he stammered and he stuttered
Some lame brain excuse
He looks to his friends
But it weren’t any use
He figured for certain
He was gonna get hurt
So he grabbed a fat billfold
Out from under his shirt

He counted out 50's
And 20's and 10's
I said "Hey, keep countin"
"We could get to be friends"
I left him 5 dollars
Outta all that he owned
I jumped in my truck
And headed back down the road

He mangled my dog
That son of a bitch
He left him for dead
On his back in a ditch
500 dollars
Won’t ever repay
What he did to my dog
.....but it sure as hell helps

I get back to my place
And wasn't I pleased
To see my mutt
On the porch scratchin' his fleas
He scratched as he waited
As he snapped at a fly
For the next big city car
To come barreling by

(Repeat Chorus)

Now 500 dollars
Won’t ever repay
What you he did to my dog
....happens three times a day.

Now THAT'S a Texas song!!!

Two nights in a row....

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.......two good crockpot dinners! (For those of you who thought it was going to be about something else, well, humph!)

Tonight we had roast and veggies. Now, I know most of you crockpot divas (and whatever the male term for crockpot diva is) probably cook roast in the crockpot all the time. But I had never done it! Delish!


1 lb baby carrots
1 giant sweet yellow onion
5-6 new potatoes (or more depending on size)
2-3 pound roast (my was bottom round)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup water

Spray the crockpot w/ PAM. Makes cleanup so much nicer!

Dump carrots, cut up onion, and cut up potatoes in the bottom of the crockpot. I don't peel my potatoes, but you could, if potato skins offend you.

Lay the roast on top. Mix the onion soup mix with the cup of warm water. Pour over the top.

Cook on low for about 8-9 hours, or until the smell drives you insane.

Next time I think I'll add some mushrooms for CAS. He's supposed to lay off the potatoes, and it'll make it easier for him to resist.

Then yesterday we had a very quick, very easy Weight Watchers recipe:


1 lb (or a little more if you have a teenager) skinless boneless chicken breasts,
cut into pieces
2 cans Italian seasoned tomatoes
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Herb and Garlic

Mix all ingredients and dump in crockpot. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Serve over pasta or rice. (We've done it both ways) Sprinkle with Parmesan.


Look, I know this isn't cooking for the food purist, but for a homeschooling mom during a stressful week, it's a wonderful alternative to the fast food lane. Both my men like it!!!


'Cause you can never have too many Pope pictures. One of my favorites is the picture I have hanging in my house of our priest kissing the Pope's ring.....


Green shoes were not enough. Now I absolutely want a retro green refrigerator! This would look so absolutely AWESOME in my kitchen. They aren't reconditioned old ones. They are new, and are Energy star certified.

Well, maybe if I win the lottery......


....I often revert to reading kiddie lit. This being the mother of all stressful weeks for me (by Friday I may be reading BOARD books!), I have picked up a children's classic I had never read before: The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. My friend Jose looked astonished when I told her I had never read it, and then when I was poking around at the used book store, there it was.

Too good to be a simple coincidence, don't you think?

Anyway, it is a Vicorian era fairy story, and very charming so far. My edition is actually abridged. Without real searching (and more $$$ than I spent) the only editions available are abridged. Apparently, it has been abridged for some of the animus towards America/Americans and some of the characterization of the Irish. Oh well.

I'll review it in full after I'm finished!

True Joy
George Bernard Shaw

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Now THIS, as Zteen would say....

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..... is a police car!


Leave it to the Italians to have something this cool!

.....I told the Smock I'd post this. Here are my results from the writer quiz. I cannot believe this!

You're a Fluff writer!

What kind of writer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Catholic doctor blog


......when you start thinking you hear those Deliverance banjos coming from around the corners of your house......

A few words on bishops

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I'm reading the 2nd volume of Warren Carroll's History of Christendom series (which I'm enjoying very much--though it is certainly pointing out how much I DON'T know. Just goes to show you that what I don't know can fill shelves of books! :-P)

In reading about St. John Chrysostom, here are a couple of his writings on bishops:

The bishop ought to have as thorough a knowledge of the world as those who live in close association with it, yet at the same time his spirit ought to be even more free than that of the monk who lives on a mountain. The austerities which a monk can undertake depend on his physical constitution; but the virtues of the bishop belong to the soul and may be developed in any circumstances . . . Great is the office of a bishop and it needs much wisdom and courage, for Christ teaches us that we must lay down our lives for the sheep: we must never desert them but stand up against the wolf.

And then again:

Do not give your alms to any leader of the Church who lives in plenty, even though he be a devout man; bestow them rather on one who is in need, even if he be less religious. For that is the will of Christ, when he says, "When you give a dinner or a party do not invite your friends or relatives or rich neighbors, lest they return the invitation and you receive a recompense. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the blind who are unable to repay you." . . . I am telling you that he who lives in comfort and yet accepts alms is not a religious man.

Well, you can certainly see why he developed enemies and was hounded out of Constantinople.....

It also reminded me of a sculpture done by John Collier, that sits outside a bishop's office in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It's called Christ, The Good Shepherd. It must be a very humbling thing to look at every day:

MamaT has a review up


MamaT's review of Johnny English is up over at Popcorn Critics (link to the right)!

This makes me furious!!!

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Just got this from my TX Right to Life Coalition update:

First, Pro-abortion zealots from the "Left" Coast are after Curves International, because its founder, Gary Heavin, is pro-life. Anti-life feminists are aghast that Gary and his wife have given millions to provide pregnancy assistance and other health care through crisis pregnancy centers. The San Francisco Chronicle Op/Ed piece describes these CPC's as following:

By offering the same health services provided by Planned Parenthood -- except abortion -- anti-abortion activists hope that privately financed alternatives will force the closure of any clinics that don't insist "you must carry your child to term."

Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which as you know are largely staffed with volunteers who earn nothing more than stars in their crowns, do not "insist" women carry their children to term. (Such an odd choice of terms, don't you think?) Rather, they do provide information about the unborn child and free assistance so that every woman has the choice to carry her child to term. This is in stark contrast to Planned Parenthood who offers little else than to kill her child for a fee.

Please take a moment to send Gary a note thanking him and his wife for their extensive support for women and children:

Curves International, 100 Ritchie Road, Waco, TX 76712

Dang! This gets my goat. In general we hear only cheers and cheers for those businesses that support that inviolable "right to choose", but let even ONE company take a different stand and it's all over but the shoutin'. And boy, those volunteers at the Crisis Pregnancy Centers must be Satan incarnate--FORCING women to carry those babies.

What a crock.

Makes me want to join Curves, just to support them.

It reminds me of when Zteen was in the first grade. He attended public school then, and I worked at the school as a volunteer a couple of days a week. One day the teachers were organizing to call out for pizza at lunch. But under no circumstances could the pizza EVER come from Dominos--because Tom Monaghan didn't support "CHOICE." I took my money out of the pool that day and never ate with the teachers again.....

And the roar of the crowd is deafening in sheer joy that the exercise is, at last, OVER!!!!!!

20. I am a Flybaby.
19. I have decluttered a gazillion pounds of stuff out of my house. There is still more to go.
18. I have had to teach myself to like any vegetable other than green beans, corn and potatoes.
17. Where I grew up, macaroni and cheese WAS a vegetable.
16. I adore chicken fried steak, cream gravy and mashed potatoes (or fries, in a pinch). I know it’s a heart attack on a plate. That’s why I don’t cook it at home ever or eat it out very often.
15. I usually have 5-6 books “in process” at any one time. Does this mean I have a problem?
14. I do my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. It makes Advent holier for me. It drives most of the people I know insane.
13. I am very insecure about my education. I went to high school in the heat of the “relevancy movement” and got a technical undergraduate and graduate degree. I don’t really know “nothin’ bout nothin’.”
12. That probably surprises people.
11. My father died when I was eleven.
10. My mom remarried when I was a senior in high school—and she picked a winner!
9. I do not think that any years before NOW were the “good old days.” I just don’t believe in the concept.
8. This year is my 30th high school reunion.
7. No, I’m not going.
6. I wish I were holy.
5. I have a weird sense of humor, that Zteen shares. It’s good to laugh until you nearly wet yourself.
4. I’m still working on being regular with my daily prayer.
3. I’m trying to get over being embarrassed when I cry at mass.
2. The 40’s have been the BEST years of my life, and I’m looking FORWARD to the 50’s!
1. Writing this ‘blog with Smock and SpecialK is a trip—ya’ll should be lucky enough to know them in real life!

And a slightly different take


And here's the Crisis magazine link

| its Philip Pullman article:

Philip Pullman's Dark Materials

For Eutychus

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Here's a link to that article on Touchstone about Philip Pullman series of books. I seem to have read something else as well. I'll see if I can hunt it down.

Paradise Denied by Leonie Caldecott

I cannot comment personally on the series, since I have not read it. But I do not, in general, find Touchstone to be an overly hysterical publication. So, take and read for what it's worth.

MamaT's trivial bits #4

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40. I need the t-shirt that says: “Team work is a lot of people doing what I say.”
39. I also need the t-shirt that says: “I’m not bossy, I just know what you should be doing.”
38. My friend Jose calls me “Miss Bossy Boots.”
37. I’m ashamed to say that all those things are probably on target. But I’m working on it.
36. I say “fixin’ to” all the time. And I’m not fixin’ to stop.
35. I am proud of my West Texas growing up, and I would never ever change my accent, though it has worn off to some degree at this point.
34. The concept of purgatory made sense to me when I was a Protestant.
33. It took me awhile to warm up to Mama Mary.
32. I’ve never done ANY illegal drugs. Never. Not even once. I never even had a beer until I went to college.
31. I have been older than my years all my life.
30. I love to read children’s literature. I’m with C. S. Lewis on this one—you shouldn’t make kids read anything you wouldn’t read yourself.
29. When I was in elementary school, I read every single Nancy Drew book that had been published. And I wanted the snappy blue roadster. Unfortunately, I’m more like the “plump” Bess than the dashing Nancy.
28. I LOVE country and western music. Nothing like a little boot-scootin’ with the one you love—‘specially some place like the Ponderosa Ballroom in Abilene, where all the other women (not me!) either have that dyed white hair or that dyed black hair. Love it!
27. I also love oldies rock and roll, Big Band, and classical music.
26. I adore Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. They make me want to smoke and drink martinis, and I don’t do either!
25. Yes, I have danced around singing into a hairbrush. More recently than you would think.
24. I am a morning person.
23. Of course, both my husband and my son are serious night owls.
22. I think there is a law that says two morning people can’t marry each other.
21. I don’t like yard work or gardening very much, but I hope to get over that.

Happy Mother's Day

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She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and called her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:26-31

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there!

They are lovely. Worth far, far more than the $3 plus shipping he is charging. Go over to El Camino Real (link on the right), and get you some!

60. I love to do decorative painting.
59. I am actually pretty good at it.
58. I love sports. Hockey, baseball, football, skating, swimming, gymnastics, the OLYMPICS! Basketball doesn’t make my radar screen. I read the sports page every day.
57. I hate to shop for clothes. I love to shop for books!
56. Half Price Books,, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon are like crack cocaine to me. I have NEVER walked out of Half Price Books without something in my hand.
55. I have been Catholic for seven years as of this Easter Vigil.
54. Before that I was a Disciple of Christ and before that an Episcopalian.
53. Thomas Howard’s Evangelical is Not Enough was pivotal in setting my feet on the path to Rome.
52. Surprised by Truth and Catholicism and Fundamentalism were also influential.
51. We considered Orthodoxy before we became Catholic.
50. I love Benediction. I love Compline.
49. I am an Easter Vigil junkie. There’s nothing else like it.
48. I am also a hymn junkie. Even though I can’t sing, the hymns are a very important part of the worship experience for me.
47. My three favorites are: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent", "Alleluia Sing to Jesus", and "Amazing Grace".
46. I am that wretch that the song is about.
45. I want "Wheat That Springeth Green" sung at my funeral.
44. I have little patience for whining especially when it’s me doing the whining.
43. I arrived for my freshman year of college carrying a minnow bucket with goldfish in it.
42. I am the treasurer of my parish.
41. I am also the Altar Guild Directress.

This is for Roz!

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A link to: Jokes - Monty Python - Dead Parrot Sketch

Or just my favorite extract:

'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!

'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!
'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!
'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!


Heads up, ya'll!


From Mallon's Media Watch and the Population Research Institute: (sorry about the formatting, but I just copied it from email. I'm not about to retype the whole thing!)

Urgent! ******* Urgent! ******* Urgent!

Stop the Morning-After Pill! Over-the-Counter approval to be decided by the
FDA May 21.

No age limits, no medical supervision, no parental involvement!

Spread this far and wide! Time is of the essense! Call the White House,
contact your Senators and Congressmen!

For instructions on how to email the FDA directly with an email link go to
this page of the PRI Website. More info below.

From the Population Research Institute
Weekly Briefing:

Dear Colleague:

There is still time for pro-lifers to call the White House
(202-456-1414) and urge the President to assure the American people that
the mega dose "morning after pill" will not be sold "over the counter."

Also contact your U.S. Senator or Representative to urge leadership from
Congress that will protect women and babies from this new chemical assault

Toll free: 1-800-648-3516 or 1-877-762-8762.

The abortion establishment is going all out to urge their followers to
lobby in favor of making this chemical killer available over the counter.
Their mailings include the lie that so-called "emergency contraception"
does not cause abortion and does not work if a women is already pregnant.
Over the counter approval of the "morning after pill" will be a public
health disaster.

Steven W. Mosher

PRI Weekly Briefing
12 May 2004
Vol. 6 / No. 17

Stop the Morning-After Pill!

Press reports suggest that the FDA is teetering on the brink of approving
the so-called morning-after pill. As past PRI Weekly Briefings have made
clear, there are terrible risks in making this powerful drug available
over-the-counter with no age restrictions or parental involvement.

€ The progestin-only hormonal contraceptive in Norplant is the same active
ingredient as Plan B. Norplant is no longer available for use in the
United States because it is so dangerous. Known risks include significant
weight gain, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood
pressure and respiratory disorders.

€ Among teenagers, some of these common side effects could result in
increased rates of bulimia, anorexia, or clinical depression. Also, an
increased risk of ectopic pregnancy has been associated with use of Plan
B-type emergency contraception.

€ Since the drug precludes parental involvement, it is likely that teenage
girls who buy Plan B at the drugstore then experience abdominal pain may not
confide in parents so that a physician could diagnose if a
life-threatening ectopic pregnancy had occurred. Over-the-counter approval
would mean that young people would be free to purchase and use (abuse) this
powerful hormone without supervision or follow up.

€ The drug was approved for over-the-counter use on January 1 in
Australia. Already there are reports in the Australian press of
13-year-old girls buying the pill several times a week to the alarm of
local pharmacists who are not able to give proper counseling to these
girls on the many risks involved. The Australian Medical Association is
already questioning the wisdom of making this risky drug so easily
available without restriction. (The West Australian, 4/4/04)

€ If over-the-counter availability of this drug is approved, we may also
expect that rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teens will
skyrocket. Adolescents age 15-19 currently represent 46% of all cases of
Chlamydia in the U.S. 1 in 4 sexually active teenagers contract an STD at
some point. In Washington State and in Sweden, where emergency contraception
has been made widely available, rates of STD infection are skyrocketing.

€ We can also expect an increase in the rates of sexual violence committed
against adolescent girls. The easy availability of this drug
over-the-counter will make it more difficult for teenage girls to resist
pressure to have sex, and will trivialize the act of rape.

€ Over-the-counter availability of the morning after pill will lead to an
increase in the pregnancy rate among teenagers. Studies have shown that
increased rates of pregnancy occur among teens with increased use of
"emergency contraception." Another showed that teenagers whose pregnancies
ended in induced abortion were more likely to have used the drug before
conception, and that teens who use the drug were more willing to engage in
"risk-taking" behavior.

Please take time to call the White House or, better yet, jot a note to
your Senator or Congressman regarding the morning after pill. If it goes
over-the-counter as scheduled on May 21, then anything goes. Lives will be
compromised and families further undermined. A sample letter follows:

April 29, 2004

Dear Senator ____________ (or Congressman _____________):

I understand the FDA is set to decide whether or not the
morning-after-pill (MAP) will go over-the-counter on 21 May 2004. I
believe that pressure from you and your colleagues could stop this
dangerous drug from being made available to very young girls without
medical supervision or parental knowledge. Would you please advise the
FDA to cease and desist? If MAP is approved, then it won’t be long before
the FDA makes the birth control pill available over-the-counter. This will
further compromise the sanctity of life and the integrity of the

Thank you.

Your name
City, State. Zip

© 2004 Population Research Institute.

Permission to reprint granted. Redistribute widely. Credit required.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to PRI, please go to All
donations (of any size) are welcomed and
To subscribe to the Weekly Briefing, send an email to:href="">
or email and say "Add me to
your Weekly Briefing."

The Population Research Institute is dedicated to ending human rights
abuses committed in the name of "family planning," and to ending
counter-productive social and economic paradigms premised on the myth of

P.O. Box 1559
Front Royal, VA 22630

Phone: (540) 622-5240 Fax: (540) 622-2728
Media Contact: Vince Criste
(540) 622-5240, ext. 206

80. I drive a green VW bug with blue racing stripes. It’s my mid-life crisis. Beep beep!
79. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
78. My favorite movie is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Or maybe "The Jerk".
77. I can quote most of the above.
76. In college, my best friend and I did the “Dead Parrot” skit for a talent show.
75. We didn’t win. I can’t imagine why.
74. I think most people think I am snobbish.
73. I’m not. I’m just mostly an introvert who can’t fathom why anyone would want to know me.
72. I don’t mind time alone.
71. In fact, I must have it to survive.
70. I LOVE popcorn with butter.
69. I even love popcorn with that fake butter stuff at the movies.
68. I went on pilgrimage to Rome in 2002.
67. My dearest wish is to go again with CAS and Zteen.
66. I love to crochet.
65. I am really good at crocheting.
64. I hope when people unwrap their baby afghans they aren’t thinking, “Oh, no, not another cheap homemade present.”
63. I am pretty much a yellow dog Republican, if there is such a thing.
62. I bounce between reading First Things, Family Circle and Sports Illustrated.
61. However, I threw away the swimsuit edition of SI when it came in the mail, before Zteen got home

The first installment of MamaT's 100 trivial bits. (And yes, SpecialK, it means you will have to eventually do it as well!) I will post mine in italics (and with capital letters :-P) so they'll be different from the Smock's:

100. My “life verse”, so to speak, is Psalm 84.
99. My “go to girl” is St. Martha.
98. I am a Martha to the bone.
97. My charism is service, among other things.
96. I have been married for 25 years this month.
95. I am thankful every day for CAS.
94. I am a goody two shoes—I don’t curse (often), I drink little, I smoke not
at all.
93. I plan on rebelling when I’m retired.
92. If I don’t retire, I plan on being the old lady running the register at
Eckerd's who doesn't know what's on sale.
91. Our retirement plan is apparently based on lottery tickets.
90. I plan on being an embarrassment to my son, but only a mild one.
89. I went to three colleges during my undergraduate years.
88. I went to graduate school.
87. I worked for almost 15 years in a career I hated.
86. It is beyond belief for the people who knew me when I was young that I
became a stay at home mom and homeschooler.
85. Homeschooling fits our family like nothing else. No regrets. None.
84. That said, homeschooling ain’t for everybody, nor is it always easy.
83. I eat when I’m tired.
82. Or sad. Or happy.
81. Now you know why I’m on Weight Watchers.

This book has been such a joy to me during Lent and Eastertide. It is almost time for me to take myself down to Saint Anthony's to pick up the next volume in the series.

Today's meditation is on "The First Christians" and the following paragraphs touched my heart:

The Christian homes of the early faithful were no different on the outside from any others. Parents passed on the Faith to their children and these in their turn did likewise. In this way the family became the main pillar for the grounding of Christian faith and morality. Christian homes being steeped in love were havens of peace, often in the midst of misunderstandings, calumnies and persecutions from without. In the home children learned the morning offering, how to be thankful and bless the table, how to turn to God in good times and bad.

What parents taught their children came with the naturalness of life itself, and so the family thus fulfilled its mission as educator. The following is the advice given by St. John Chrysostom to Christian couples: Show your wife you appreciate her company a lot and that you prefer to be at home rather than outside, because she is there. Show her a preference among all your friends and even above the children she has given you; love them because of her . . . Pray all together . . . Learn the fear of God; everything else will flow from this like water from a fountain and your house will be filled with bounty.

I like to think that my house is "steeped in love" and is a "haven of peace" but so often I fall short in bringing that sense into our home. And yes, I think that is MY main duty--it's what my vocation is in my marriage and motherhood.

One of my regrets is that we came so late to the church. Zteen was already 11, and the years we missed of doing the 1001 small Catholic devotional things have been hard to make up. What seems natural with smaller children becomes more problematical with a teenager! We've done our best.

But a part of my heart looks forward to those years with (someday, please God)grandchildren. Littles to celebrate the feast days with cookies or special cakes. With crafts and costumes. With all the things that I would have liked to have done but missed out on. I want to be an awesome Catholic grandmother!

Insular Majuscule
Insular Majuscule- You are spiritual and well
rounded. People look to you for advice, but
sometimes find you difficult to understand.

What Calligraphy Hand Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Ellyn at Oblique House--link to the right.

Peggy Noonan's "little moment"

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Great, though sad, essay by Peggy Noonan about her trip to see the revival of Rasin in the Sun can be found here:'Raisin' and Falling

Here are three heartbreaking paragraphs:

But I must tell you of the small moment that was actually a big moment. (There's a possible spoiler coming up, so if you don't know the story and mean to see the play, stop here.) An important moment in the plot is when a character announces she is pregnant, and considering having an abortion. In fact, she tells her mother-in-law, she's already put $5 down with the local abortionist. It is a dramatic moment. And you know as you watch it that when this play came out in 1960 it was received by the audience as a painful moment — a cry of pain from a woman who's tired of hoping that life will turn out well.

But this is the thing: Our audience didn't know that. They didn't understand it was tragic. They heard the young woman say she was about to end the life of her child, and they applauded. Some of them cheered. It was stunning. The reaction seemed to startle the actors on stage, and shake their concentration. I was startled. I turned to my friend. "We have just witnessed a terrible cultural moment," I said. "Don't I know it," he responded.

And I can't tell you how much that moment hurt. To know that the members of our audience didn't know that the taking of a baby's life is tragic — that the taking of your own baby's life is beyond tragic, is almost operatic in its wailing woe.

Have we really come to this? That whole audiences of people don't even GET that it might be a TRAGEDY???? How sad. How inexpressibly sad.

Thanks to Lauren for the heads up on the article!


Jeff Culbreath is printing a small prayer book for families to use, in beautiful, orthodox, traditional language. It's a virtual steal, at $3 per copy.

Prayers are taken from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Anglican use Book of Divine Worship, and the St. Augustine prayer book. Sounds like a winner. You KNEW the Mamas had to be partial to it, since they attend an Anglican Use parish!

Go over to El Camino Real, and support Jeff's worthy endeavor. I ordered 10 copies this morning, some to give away, some to keep.

Book #15 of 2004 finished!


Well, when you turn off the TV, you all of a sudden have a lot more time than you did before, even if you "weren't watching it much." Humph. I guess I was watching it even more than I was admitting to myself!

Anyway, finished Somehow Form a Family: Stories that are Mostly True by Tony Earley. He also wrote Jim the Boy, which is on my "to read" list. (No, don't ask me how many things are on the "to read" list. It would be frightening to count them up. I might fall into despair of ever getting to them all. For a kid whose dream was to one day read every single book in the children's section of the Abilene Public Library, it would be more than I could take to have to learn that not only could I not read the entire children's library, I can't even read my own abstract of the total books available!)

This is another Southern writer--this time from North Carolina. But he admits to being an in betweener--too young to be a Boomer, too old to be a Gen X'er. One foot in the hills of North Carolina, another in the split level ranch house of the Brady Bunch. Nowhere near the depth of the book listed below, but then not intended to be. Funnier, sometimes, but then he was richer than Bragg was. It's probably easier to be funny when your mama's not walkin' around with her toes hanging out of raggedy sneakers.

Still, he's good. My favorite in the book was the essay "The Courting Garden." He and his soon to be wife decide to start a garden together, which is then decimated by the worst drought in years. Nothing grows. Everything dies. Everything except the one perfect pepper that manages to exist. Here he writes:

Weddings, of course, have less to do with being married than with the simple fact that it is best to begn the most arduous journeys surrounded by friends and wearing nice clothes. And while our journey together has at times been arduous, I have never regretted it. God has never failed to provide, in the midst of every drought, and from the most seemingly barren soil, the single, perfect pepper that, on finding it green at our feet, makes us glad we are traveling together. We bought our first house during the middle of a harsh winter, and found, come spring, that one whole side was covered with grapevines. At those moments we smile like spies from the same small country, on spotting the other in a foreign airport, each bearing half the secret we need for survival. We click our rings together and move on, watching the ground, toward whatever miracle comes up next.

And then this, which he writes upon being asked to be godfather to a friend's baby daughter:

And now I am about to be a godfather, charged with leading a child into the faith, which proves, if nothing else, that God has a sense of humor. Jessie is a beautiful child, five months old, who beams at the world as it passes; a dog trotting by or a stranger leaning in fills her face with brightest joy. She knows nothing but good in the world, and I spend a lot of time wondering about what I should tell her. I suppose I should tell her first that I believe. I still doubt most everything, including the motives of all organized religions and the journalistic integrity of the gospels, but I do believe that I am watched over by a God who loves me, who kept me alive, for reasons known only to him, all the years I wanted to die. I will tell her I have no idea what God wants me to do, only that every time I arrive at a desperate place, usually of my own devising, a path opens up in front of me, whether I have prayed for a path or not. I will tell Jessie that I have come to have faith in the path opening up, that I keep going because I believe. I will tell her that when I remember I say thank you. So I suppose I will tell my goddaughter she should always say thank you and please.

When Jessie is old enough I will tell her about the dark places I have been, the ways I hurt myself and other people because I was angry. I will tell her of the years I tried to convince myself that I was an atheist, how I made fun of Christians with the single-minded zeal of a preconversion Saul. I will tell her about the night God pulled me out of the ice and into his house. I will tell her to drink beer only moderately, and never around boys. Jessie lives in the mountains in Tenneessee, and I like to think we'll walk along the ridges near her house until we come to a place where we can see a long way, maybe even all the way to the blue mountains of North Carolina. I will tell her that there are people out there who will love her and people who will hurt her, that sometimes they will be the same person. I will tell her how Granny Earley loved me and tried to turn me against my mother at the same time. I will also tell her that I rarely find the strength to forgive the people who hurt me, that I nurse and enjoy a multitude of small hatreds, and that I am ahsamed for it. On the way home I will show her poison oak, and tell her how in our part of the world the leaves of all the poisonous plants grow in groups of three; I will tell her that in our part of the world all the poisonous snakes have triangular shaped heads. (The lone exception, the coral snake, is also unmistakably marked.) I will tell her that these things are miracles, at once reminders that we live in a fallen world, and proof of God's great love. I will tell Jessie that as we walk through the world, even along the dangerous paths we have chosen for ourselves, God worries about where we put our feet.

Book #14 of 2004 finished!


Finished reading All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked his way up from writing sports for a small Alabama paper to the New York Times. It's a true story of his life--of his abusive, alcoholic father and his adored hard-working mother. He grew up dirt poor--his mother picked cotton, ironed clothes, cleaned peoples' houses and lived for 18 years with no new clothes to provide for her 3 boys.

While he doesn't share his kinfolks' faith, and after reading about his growing up, you can see how his heart would be hard, just to survive, he is never, ever condescending toward people of faith. In fact, one of the most moving of the chapters talks about the tiny Baptist church he attended for awhile when he was young:

He saved them one by one, the young ones and the old ones and even the ones who had been saved once or twice already, but had felt their faith weaken some, and needed it shorn up with another visit to the altar. He saved children--he said you were never too young--and caressed their necks as they knelt, weeping, not really understanding what they felt or why they felt it, as their mommas and daddies wept for them, from joy. He kept at it Sunday after Sunday, until he had enough of them to hold a decent baptismal. I saw one, only one. I think it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

They did them only in warm weather, in a fishing lake not too far from the church. First someone threw in a rock to chase the cottonmouths away, then the minister and his deacons walked into the dark green water, in their nicest clothes; nothing in this culture, our culture, was more important. The rest of the congregation lined the banks, singing of the River Jordan. I cannot recall the words, but even now I can hum those songs in my head.

Those about to have their sins washed clean waited, some weeping, some laughing. I remember that the women and the girls always wore white, some with flowers in their hair, and went barefoot into the murky water. I can still see the rapture in their faces as the preacher took them in his arms, then ever so gently leaned them back, back, until the waters closed over them and the thing was done. I remember how the mascara ran down their faces, and how completely, utterly alive they looked. I have never seen a look like that, as if something was racing through their very veins, stronger than heroin.

And I remember how odd it seemed, to see grown men, men who fed pipe shop furnaces, who heaved around 200-pound sticks of pulpwood like firewood, lie like children in the preacher's arms, and go so passively under the water as the congregation silently mouthed the words "Praise God" and "Thank you, Jesus."

Then it was back to the church, back the The Word, back to that old man's quiet faith and his unyielding crusade to save us all.

This book is a keeper, a great book. It IS the South of its time. Pick it up, you'll not be sorry.



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by MamaT in May 2004.

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MamaT: June 2004 is the next archive.

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