MamaT: July 2004 Archives

Oh, I do so love Mr. Chesterton

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First the Shock, Then the Glow
G. K. Chesterton

In everything worth having, even in every pleasure, there is a point of pain or tedium that must be survived, so that the pleasure may revive and endure. The joy of battle comes after the first fear of death; the joy of reading Virgil comes after the bore of learning him; the glow of the sea-bather comes after the icy shock of the sea bath; and the success of the marriage comes after the failure of the honeymoon.


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Australian Abortion Business Objects to Nearby Child Care Center

Get this paragraph:

Marie Stopes International Australia, which operates the Perth abortion business, says it's wrong to establish a day care center near the abortion facility because the sight of children might upset patients.

This is heartbreaking.

I started to say....

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St. Martha

.....that today is the feast day of my "go to" saint, but I realized that SHE is not MINE. Rather I hope that one day I might be HERS.

Some info about my beloved St. Martha from "Saints o' the Day":

Died c. 80. Martha was the sister of Mary (usually identified in the West as the Magdalene) and Lazarus. She lived with them in Bethany, a small town near Jerusalem. Jesus preached in Judea and visited their home often.

Martha may have been the eldest, for she directed the household and took special pains to make Jesus comfortable. Active in her ministrations, she asked Jesus to direct her sister, the more contemplative Mary, to help her serve him, and he replied, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10:38-42). Thus, Jesus reminds us that active works can distract us from God, while contemplation brings one closer.

It was Martha who went out to meet Jesus after the death of Lazarus. She met him when he was still a few miles outside their village. Martha said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." She added that she still believed God would grant whatever Jesus asked.

In response to this act of faith, she was the first to hear one of Jesus' deepest revelations. As Jesus continued to question her, Martha said she believed her brother would rise again on the last day. Then Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" Martha replied, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God" (John 11:1-44).

According to medieval legend, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus went to France after the death of Jesus and evangelized Provence.

In art, Saint Martha is portrayed as a housewife with a dragon and an aspergillus. At times the image may include (1) a book and aspergillus; (2) keys and an aspergillus; (3) keys and a ladle; (4) a ladle; (5) with Martha veiled and her hands folded in lamentation by the Magdalene; (6) Mary in scenes from the Gospel; or (7) with Lazarus and Mary, crossing the sea to Marseilles. White says that she is often bearing a distaff or any symbol of housework, such as a bunch of keys.

Martha is venerated in Provence, especially in Aix and Tarsacon. She is patroness of housewives, innkeepers, house servants, waiters, and cooks.

St. Martha, pray for me.

Zteen and I are addicted

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chef3.jpg Iron Chef. Allez cuisine! (Or whatever it is Kaga says in the beginning!)

The best part? Trying to bet what the secret ingredient will be. Tonight? Duck Battle! Zteen and I are waiting for Iron Chef: Toast!

The funniest part of IC, though, are the voice-overs. There is always some idiot girl helping with the commentary who knows even less than I do about cooking. Zteen and I laugh and laugh.

Tonight's food might have tasted good, but it all looked pretty icky. Duck just isn't that pretty a color when it's cooked, apparently. At least on our TV it was a pretty revolting grayish brown.

And tonight, we saw the absolute ugliest dish we've ever seen. It was a duck soup, but before they cooked the duck they pureed it into a liquid with MSG, salt and some sugar (yes, that's what they said). They then poured this liquid into boiling Chinese soup stock. I will leave it strictly up to your imagination as to what it looked like when they did that.

And sorry, I'm not eating duck tartare. Nope. Not even with fried duck skin right beside it. Nope. You can take the girl out of West Texas, but you can't take West Texas out of the girl. I like my food cooked, thank you very much.

Erik would probably have LOVED it.

Interesting article on the Bruderhof site


Bruderhof Saving Childhood Forum - When is advertising to children unethical?

I especially like the 10 suggestions for dealing with the issue. Especially #6:

6.You don’t have to always ask children what they would like. Tell them what to do. Expect them to eat whatever is on their plate. Demand obedience. Young children actually hunger for the security this brings.

In today's time, that is radical advice, my friends.


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....the new product for sale in the Planned Parenthood Store (who knew they had a store? Who buys from it?)
"I Had An Abortion" T-shirts

Well, at least it looks like the right color. Black.

And here is an editorial about it by Mike Adams. Go Mike!



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WorldNetDaily: Planned Parenthood gives kids 'porn' book

Here's a paragraph:

Parents were not permitted to attend the conference, which was limited to children in the fifth through ninth grades, ages 10-14, Sedlak said.

Of course one CAN'T let those nasty, reactionary parents in! They might not approve of the "line drawings" of couples having sex and a boy with a condom on. And they might not want their preteens to read a "how to" on masturbation. They're just not "with it" you know. They don't know that sex doesn't really MEAN anything, it's all just fun and games, ya know?? And any nasty little "surprise" that happens because 13 year olds are notoriously unreliable using birth control? Well, we can "take care of" that little "problem." It's your RIGHT to have sex, remember? No matter HOW young you are!


You know, here's my fear. We're beginning to reach a generation of kids whose parents really DON'T see anything wrong with the above, because it's how they've lived their whole lives! The last bastion of parents who believed "good girls (and admittedly, and shamefully, to a lesser extent good boys) DON'T" are reaching grandparenthood age, not parenthood. I wonder what happens when the generation who were raised to "hook up" and think sex is "no big deal" are raising their own kiddos. Will they want for their children something different from what they themselves lived? Or will there simply only be a few voices crying in the wilderness that things should be different???

Oh, and here's a link to STOPP, which is a group that monitors Planned Parenthood, its programs, and its mission. They are the group that brought the Central Texas Girl Scouts affiliation with Planned Parenthood to light and gave it lots of publicity--leading to the GS dropping their alliance with PP in Central Texas.

You have to start somewhere!

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Got this quote in my "Daily Dig" today:

Blue Monday
Teresa of Avila

Oh God, I don’t love you,
I don’t even want to love you,
but I want to want to love you!

To finish up? The confession!

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OK, so I went to 1/2 Price Books, and I hadn't planned to go. But Saturday after Altar Guild, I had to drive to the bank to get money for the lady I help take care of, and I had to drive RIGHT PAST 1/2 Price Books. My car turned in ALL BY ITSELF! I promise!

Don't buy it? Oh, well.

I bought only (only?) four books this time:

Hamlet's Dresser by Bob Smith
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Red and the Black by Stendahl
Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

So, the last three get added to The Stack, below The Haj (which I will NEVER have finished before book club on Thursday because I have been busy reading other things!) and below The Scarlet Pimpernel, below Crime and Punishment, which I am determined to finish--GRRRRR, and below The British Museum is Falling Down, which is NEXT month's book club book.

Now that's a pile in danger of flat tipping over.

Books # 23 and #24 finished!


So, speaking of reading, I finished two more books this week! (Time spent in hospital waiting rooms gives you lots of time to read!)

#23: The Moonstone. What a wonderful book! Loved it, loved it, loved it. Thought the technique of having different characters "write" different parts of the novel was great, and that his portrait via her "own words" of Miss Clack was a masterpiece.

Doesn't surprise me that Collins was a friend of Dickens. I have long been a Dickens fan, now I can be a Wilkie Collins fan as well. I liked The Moonstone so much I went to 1/2 Price Books (sssshhhhh---TSO, don't tell PapaC) to get The Woman in White, which is now in The Stack.

#24: Hamlet's Dresser by Bob Smith. A memoir of a boy whose "life was saved by literature." Bob Smith had a lonely and difficult childhood, with a younger sister who was retarded (and, it appears, had cerebral palsy and autism as well, based on her description in the book). When he was 10, his local librarian handed him a copy of The Merchant of Venice, and he found the passion of his life--and the thread that saved it.

I first read about this book in Deal Hudson's Summer Reading List issue of the Crisis newsletter. He raved about it so, that I picked it off the shelf when I saw it at 1/2 Price Books. Read it. It's worth the time.

I'm also almost 1/2 way through The Scarlet Pimpernel. I haven't done much this weekend except read. It's been lovely. The pile of dishes in my kitchen will make me sad tomorrow morning, but for tonight it's back to the time of the Reign of Terror!


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From an article in our local newspaper today:

A report prepared by the National Endowment for the Arts with data collected by the Census Bureau in 2002 shows that reading of literary works--novels, short stories, poetry and plays--is declining among all adults, regardless of age, race, ethnicity and income, with the least interest in reading reported among the youngest segments of American society. Only 46.7 percent of adults say they are reading literature, compared with 56.9 percent two decades ago. Nearly two-thirds of men don't read at all.

That last sentence surprises me not at all. I think it is tragic, but unfortunately it doesn't surprise me. Zteen is a reader. Only ONE out of his friends EVER reads anything that isn't strictly required by school. Once they are finished with school, I don't think that many of them will ever pick up a book again.

But that whole reading thing? When does the non-reading start? As I watched the McBaby digging in the dirt in the sandpile in the back yard, I realized that it started earlier than I realized. She has the luxury of digging pretty much however long she is happy to dig. She does watch videos (ask me how many times we've watched Pooh in the past 3 weeks!), but that's only a part of what is generally a very relaxed day for her. We go "to errands" (which she loves), we go visit folks, we stay home and do laundry. But nothing is particularly regimented or focused.

I compare this to Zteen's toddlerhood--which was spent in daycare. (I didn't become a SAHM until he was in the 1st grade!) Every moment of his day was more regimented--it HAD to be. And he was in a really good center--a place with a huge playground, shaded with old trees, where the kids played outside for long periods of time. (That's why we picked it!) But it was daycare. It's very existence depended upon regimentation and busy-ness. Keep 'em busy, keep 'em moving. Look here! Do that! See this!

That sets habits in place that carryover into our current school mindset. Hurry! Finish your homework in the car on the way to soccer. We've got Scouts tomorrow, and something else every other night of the week. When are kids supposed to have the TIME to read???

I know, I know. TV has much to do with it. And so do video games. And I know they suck up hours and hours of time that could be spent on reading. But if you've never gotten used to the TIME it takes to read, and the stillness it takes, how can you ever choose it over something as bright and shiny as a game or a tv show?

Here's something to reflect upon:

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The Strongest of All Things
Fyodor Dostoevsky

At some thoughts one stands perplexed—especially at the sight of men’s sin—and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that, once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.

Every day and every hour, every minute, walk around yourself and watch yourself, and see that your image is a seemly one. If you pass by a little child, and pass by spitefully, with ugly words or wrathful heart, you may not notice the child, but he will see you, and your image, unseemly and ignoble, may remain in his defenseless heart. You may not know it, but you may have sown an evil seed in him, and it may grow, all because you were not careful before the child, because you did not foster in yourself an active, benevolent love.

Brothers, love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire; it is dearly bought; it is won by slow, long labor. We must love not only occasionally, or for a moment, but for ever. Everyone, even the wicked can love occasionally...

Thanks to all the prayers....

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PapaC is at home, in his recliner, watching the Rangers play baseball.

It was a longer day than it was supposed to be--we despaired of getting to come home when the anesthesia didn't wear off as quickly as it was supposed to. His blood pressure dropped way low, he got white as a sheet, and he was freezing cold to the touch. (And this is the man who has kicked our covers off every night for 25 years.) He scared me there for a minute.

But the nurses were just peachy, both Catholic and very caring. Thank you, God, for the lovely Kay and Aida who made PapaC comfortable and watched over the nervous wife with compassion and love.

You know, it goes back to "dat bwessed awangement" that Smock mentioned below. After 25 years of living it, I cannot fathom living without it. Even "minor" surgery makes me hold on to my precious PapaC with every ounce of my being.

For all my many blessings, of which a PapaC on the mend is the biggest part, I am most certainly grateful.

Tomorrow's the big day....

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PapaC goes in for surgery tomorrow. If you have a spare moment, please say a little prayer that all goes well and that we are home for recovery by tomorrow night.

Here's what we're praying tonight at our house:

Loving Father, I entrust myself to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name, and grant that every cause of illness be removed, I may be restored to soundness of health and learn to live in more perfect harmony with you and with those around me. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Into your hands, I commend my body and my soul. Amen.

See ya'll Friday!

....I came across the perfect quote for the Mighty Barrister (link to the right) to put on his 'blog. It made me laugh out loud:

He was a barrister by profession; a ladies' man by temperament; and a good Samaritan by choice.......He was quite a public character.

Fits, don't you think????

Anyway, Wilkie Collins is so slyly funny! I keep reading bits to PapaC, who at this point thinks he just ought to put down To Kill a Mockingbird because it is too hard to read with me snorting every few pages from the other side of the bed.

Here are a few of the head steward's remarks on the gentlefolks he serves:

Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life--the rock ahead of their own idleness. Their lives being, for the most part, passed in looking about them for something to do, it is curious to see--especially when their tastes are of what is called the intellectual sort--how often they drift blindfold into some nasty pursuit. Nine times out of ten they take to torturing something, or to spoiling something--and they firmly believe they are improving their minds, when the plain truth is, they are only making a mess in the house.....

on the public school funding crisis in Saugus, Mass. I think what the superintendant did was pretty amazing for this day and time. And, unfortunately, the response of students and parents is fairly typical.

They are being forced to answer the basic question: Just what are we supposed to spend our education (tax) dollars FOR, anyway?

Look, I'm not anti-sports (heavens, I'm from TEXAS, after all) or anti-cheerleader, band, art club, or student newspaper. But it never hurts once in awhile to think back to basic purposes.

Well, maybe it HURTS, but it is necessary.....

Jeff Jacoby: Lessons of a school budget crisis

Don't ya just love it....

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......when God whaps you up the side of the head with something?

I am on the Adoration roster at my parish. Every Friday for the past 4 years or so I have been a regular at Eucharistic adoration. Sometimes I come and just "rest in the Lord." Sometimes I come and bawl like a baby. Sometimes I come and prepare for my weekly Bible study, asking Jesus to give me the insight I need to lead the group. Sometimes I randomly read the Bible (mostly the Gospels and the Psalms).

Sometimes I take whatever spiritual reading I am attempting and read that. Last Friday, I took my Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. J. P. de Caussade, S. J. [A book, by the way, that is restoring my faith in Jesuits--at least the old ones!]

I prayed for awhile over some issues that I'm dealing with, then asked Jesus to open my heart to what I needed to learn from Fr. Caussade. I opened the book to page 114 and read:

...but see how divine Providence has come to my aid. God gives me the grace to remain unattached to all these affairs, so that my spirit remains always free. I leave their successful issue to his paternal care, so that nothing distresses me. Often things go all right and I give thanks to God; sometimes everything goes wrong, I again bless his holy name and offer him the sacrifice of my efforts. Once this sacrifice has been made, God arranges everything.

You see, that little paragraph told me something that I had never been able to deal with before--that is, what to do with the efforts that DIDN'T turn out to be successful (or at least at the time don't look to be successful). Offering up the sacrifice of my efforts, the time spent, the work done, IN AND OF ITSELF, makes my attempt pleasing to God. He can bring out of it what HE chooses.

And then another punch to the gut:

I am firmly convinced that we should all be lost if God gave us all our desires, and that is why, as St. Augustine says, God, in his mercy and compassion for our blindness, does not always grant our prayers, and sometimes gives us the contrary of what we ask as being in reality better for us.

and then again:

Remember that great word of Fenelon: "It is a great grace from God to be able to suffer, not courageously on the grand scale, but in a small and humble manner, for thus we become patient, small and humble all at once."

....and then I realized how worried I had been, how invested I had become in the outcome of a hundred little things that were going on in my life. I had spent 15 minutes complaining to God about the gazillion ordinary, tiny, inconsequential, silly little headaches that I can't even suffer through without being a giant whining baby.

So, now I've reoriented. I'm still telling him I don't like those trials and tribulations--but I suspect he knows that. ;-) Now I'm asking for the grace to suffer the little things with humble patience.

Patience. That's a new one.

Yesterday's fave hymn....

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.....takes me back to my Vacation Bible School days as an Episcopalian. This was one of the favorites in the parish I grew up in, rotated with "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God", "All Things Bright and Beautiful", and "Onward, Christian Soldiers". Every time I hear any of these four songs, I am immediately transported back to the days of watered down Kool-aid and windmill cookies. I can even still smell the smell of the Sunday School rooms with the evaporative coolers running......

Anyway, here's something to sing to yourself today:

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

And now for something beautiful!

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Just to counteract the ugliness of the world.

And a shameless plug for our local Carmelite nuns. Check 'em out here:

Discalced Carmelites, Arlington, TX.

I just love it that the nuns have a website!


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Thanks to Lauren for the heads up on this one:
Yahoo! News - Exhibit of Human Bodies Debuts in L.A.

Sorry, I don't think they're doing it to "educate" people about how the body works. I think they are doing it to shock. Period.

Certainly there is a place for the use of cadavers in medical school and the like, and bless the folk who donate their bodies to do this.

But it's a whole different world to put dead bodies out there for folks to gawk at.

It's disturbing, and it's simply a way to further "dehumanize" us. To make us just another object. If that can be done, then morally anything is up for grabs, 'cause it just doesn't make any difference in the great scheme of things what one more "object" does.

How sad. How very sad.

Books #21 and #22 finished!

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Book #21, Love Among the Cannibals, by Wright Morris. Basically a character study of Earl Horter, a lyric writer of "juke box songs." He and his partner Mac pick up two girls--Mac a southern belle, Earl a Greek goddess--and they make a trip to Acapulco, theoretically to work on a low-budget musical set in Mexico that they are writing. It's not about what happens, it's about the four people, and their approach to love, sex, security.

It didn't surprise me that Smock liked it. It also didn't surprise me that I didn't care for it. I found it hot, sticky, and depressing. Love, to the characters in this short novel, didn't mean knowing each other, sacrificing for each other, achieving joint dreams. It was either an overwhelming appetite--that didn't require knowing the other person at all for its satisfaction-- or it was a means of achieving an end. Or it was something that had hurt in the past and so was to be avoided at all costs in the present.

Might be true. Don't want to read about it.

Book #22 was Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. It won the Pulitzer prize in 2000. It's a series of short stories, all with Indian/Pakistani protagonists. Loved her writing. Loved the way she captured the "otherness" of the immigrant, and the mixed blessings of that immigration. The cost when one partner of a couple wants the change and the other one is unsure.

Here's something that captures the flavor, from the short story "Mrs. Sen's":

She had brought the blade from India, where apparently there was at least one in every household. "Whenever there is a wedding in the family," she told Eliot one day, "or a large celebration of any kind, my mother sends out word in the evening for all the neighborhood women to bring blades just like this one, and then they sit in an enormous circle on the roof of our building, laughing and gossiping and slicing fifty kilos of vegetables through the night." Her profile hovered protectely over her work, a confetti of cucumber, eggplant, and onion skins heaped around her. "It is impossible to fall asleep those nights, listening to their chatter." She paused to look at a pine tree framed by the living room window. "Here, in this place where Mr. Sen has brought me, I cannot sometimes sleep in so much silence."

Another day she sat prying the pimpled yellow fat off chicken part, then dividing them between thigh and leg. As the bones cracked apart over the blade her golden bangles jostled, her forearms glowed, and she exhaled audibly through her nose. At one point she paused, gripping the chicken with both hands, and stared out the window. Fat and sinew clung to her fingers.

"Elliot, if I began to scream right now at the top of my lungs, would someone come?"

"Mrs. Sen, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. I am only asking if someone would come."

Eliot shrugged. "Maybe."

"At home that is all you have to do. Not everybody has a telephone. But just raise your voice a bit, or express grief or joy of any kind, and one whole neighborhood and half of another has come to share the news, to help with arrangements."

None of the stories are particularly happy, but the characters in them love something--wives, husbands, family, home. And therein lies the sadness--when what one loves is taken away. Or if they don't love something, that's part of the tragedy. It's a whole different feel from the emptiness of Morris' Cannibals.


We went to see Spiderman2. I liked it very much. I thought it was much, much better than the first one, largely because I liked the villain better. Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) fit into the story better than that horrible Goblin thing did in the first one.

I only saw the first one on the small screen. Wow. Seeing Spidey swing through New York on the big screen was awesome. Good special effects. And a sly sense of humor--Spidey delivering pizza!

Spidey has always been one of my favorite comic books heroes. (Well, him and the Fantastic Four, but we won't go there.) So maybe I was programmed to like the movies.

My only gripe (other than $2.75 candy)? The trailers for other movies! BoyJ was terrified watching the previews for the next Wesley Snipes vampire movie, yet ANOTHER Anaconda movie (eeeeuuuuwww), and the preview for I, Robot, with Will Smith [Mama T note: I want to see this. I have a major crush on Will Smith, and I always have. There, how's that for a confession?]. They were FAR more intense than the Spiderman movie. We nearly had to leave during the snake part (BoyJ isn't fond of big ole snakes, and neither am I). But we hung in there (with my hands over his eyes). Once Spidey started, he only had to cover his eyes once (when Dr. Octavius becomes Doc Ock).

Other than that we thought the whole thing was "Cool!" And Aunt Tewwy got major cool aunt points in the deal!

Just remember:

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Money isn't ours to KEEP. It's just ours long enough to funnel on to the next person.....

I can hear the wings fluttering past me as I write this.

Yesterday's great hymn


was this one by Charles Wesley. Anyone who has hung around here very long knows how much I treasure Charles Wesley's hymns. We sang this one yesterday, to the tune called "Dundee" over at CyberHymnal. Go there if you want to hear the midi.


Let saints on earth in concert sing
With those whose work is done;
For all the servants of our King
In Heav’n and earth are one.

One family, we dwell in Him,
One Church, above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.

One army of the living God,
To His command we bow;
Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.

E’en now to their eternal home
There pass some spirits blest;
While others to the margin come,
Waiting their call to rest.

Jesu, be Thou our constant Guide;
Then, when the word is given,
Bid Jordan’s narrow stream divide,
And bring us safe to Heav’n.


It is one of the great glories of the Church that we recognize how very narrow that stream is.

Another woo hoo!



My Texas Rangers are ahead by 2 games in their division at the break. Yay! Five Rangers made the All Star team, which is much better than usual. In a season that was predicted to be pretty awful, we've had some very entertaining baseball.

We have tickets for Friday night's game. I love going to baseball games.

Woo hoo!

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Zteen's best friend is in the Texas Boys' Choir, an absolutely stellar choir. He is in Bremen, Germany with the choir, competing in the International Choir Olympics. We just heard that they won the gold medal in their division! Hurray!

Way to go, guys!


If you can give blood, please do! Don't be a baby. Don't be a wimp. Just go do it. Wouldn't you want someone to do it for your loved ones? I'm just back from the donor center. Let me tell you, if I can do it, YOU can do it.

So go!

We just finished watching....

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.....Calendar Girls on video. What a charming movie! It was just what I needed tonight. No big issues, just a sweet and lovely confection to take your mind away for a little while.

If you must have issues, depth and suspense, this one isn't for you. But it's not a total airheaded chick flick--PapaC even admitted that he enjoyed it.

We'll save Mystic River and Monster for a day when I have a sunnier outlook to begin with. Otherwise things could get ugly around here.

TSO dumped his bookbag....

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.....and updated his reading list. Since I don't even HAVE a book bag, I'll have to do the next best thing: look at the pile of books on my nightstand.


Let's see:

Love Among the Cannibals by Wright Morris. This book better start going somewhere soon. I'm 1/3 of the way in and not much is going on. On the other hand, it's not taking forever to read, either, unlike some OTHER books which will be mentioned later.

The Haj by Leon Uris. Book club book for this month--got to have it finished by the 21st. I have liked Uris' work in the past, but this is slow getting started.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I WILL get this finished. I will. I will. I will. Won't I?

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Why? Because it was ON SALE at Barnes and Noble!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Because I am feeling very un-"fraternite, equalite, liberte" or however you spell it.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Because it won the Pulitzer Prize (and I'm reading some off that list), because it was written by a young woman (and I hope she's good), and because somebody at St. Blogs told me about the book (maybe Steven?).

Looking at this list, I think I seem very odd. I suppose that's all right, since I AM very odd...... BUT, this is far fewer books than I normally have stacked up in the "to read" pile. Wonder if I have a temperature or something???

From the BBC

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BBC NEWS | Health | Scanner shows unborn babies smile

The 4D scanner, which produces detailed 3D images that move in real time, has shown that babies start making finger movements at 15 weeks, yawning at 18 weeks and smiling, blinking and crying at 26 weeks.

Pretty good for a "blob of tissue", huh?

Well, if you wanted the list...

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....of the SF Masterworks series, it can be found here: The SF Site: SF Masterworks Reviews Archive

Finished a couple of books over the past few nights.

#20: Cruel Miracles by Orson Scott Card. A book of 5 of his short stories, all with what he calls "religious" themes. By that he means dealing with the ultimate issues of life--not organized or established religions. All 5 were interesting. The most greusome and disturbing (though, overall, probably not the best story) was the story called Kingsmeat. In the story, the Shepherd works for the alien King and Queen who have taken over the planet. He is a "harvester" of the "flock." That is, the King and Queen send him out to get what they are hungry for--be it legs, arms, breasts, whatever. The Shepherd does the harvesting painlessly, and does not kill the person he is harvesting from.

Eventually, avengers come and kill the King and Queen, and the Shephard is put on trial. The townspeople are set to kill him on the spot. Then they hear the story from HIS point of view--that he was trying to save his people from complete destruction (which would have happened without his care). It's an interesting story with a twist at the end.

If you like Card's other SF work, you'd probably find his short fiction interesting. And his autobiographical-type notes in the introduction and in the epilogue are as interesting as any of the stories.

#21 The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. I've not seen the movie (starring Howard Keel) which PapaC says is truly terrible. The book is not terrible at all. I don't know that I'd call it SCIENCE fiction at all--there is precious little science seeming stuff in it to me. I'd put it in the genre that is one of my favorites: apocalyptic fiction. The whole point is: "What if the world nearly ended like THIS?"

Yes, there are man-eating type plants, but they aren't the POINT of the books at all. So don't get thrown off by thinking this is some cheesy b-movie plot book. Worth the read. It has been put out in some sort of Science Fiction Masterpiece series--that's how I picked it up at 1/2 Price Books. (That's also where I got The Stars My Destination. I wish I could find a whole list of what they consider the "Masterworks.")

From Oblique House...

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Abraham Lincoln You have a Bible and a library
card what more could you possibly need? You
prefer the Charlotte Mason Method of reading
living books for everything: historical
fiction, biographies, real histories, nature
guides, etc. No soon-to-be-outdated textbooks
for you.

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

And I got this even though for family movie night I said I'd pick a Monty Python movie!

Today's thought:


....via the Bruderhof:

Love Never Fails
Søren Kierkegaard

What marvelous strength love has! The most powerful word that has ever been said, God’s creative word, is: “Be.” But the most powerful word any human being has ever said is, “I abide.” Reconciled to himself and to his conscience, the one who loves goes without defense into the most dangerous battle. He only says: “I abide.” But he will conquer, conquer by his abiding. There is no misunderstanding that cannot be conquered by his abiding, no hate that can ultimately hold up to his abiding – in eternity if not sooner. If time cannot, at least the eternal shall wrench away the other’s hate. Yes, the eternal will open his eyes for love. In this way love never fails – it abides.

Can you say "inappropriate"?

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I KNEW you could!


These are the girl toys in the Mickey Dee's Happy Meals for their summer promotion. I know, I know, we should have asked for the toddler toy for the McBaby, but we forgot.

Imagine our surprise when we got what Zteen calls "Hooker Barbie."

And we wonder where little girls get their ideas of "looking like a tramp" = "cool."

I'm too old for this. Obviously.



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