Be careful when you cross the street. Only go to the houses with porch lights on. Don't trip on your costume. And save all the Snickers bars for us!
MamaT: October 2004 Archives
I've been looking at the search strings that turned us up lately:
Those of you looking for "Christian Porn" and "Incest in America"----
Can they get any weirder?
Any time, ANY TIME, you read about some liturgical thing called "the Women's" ANYTHING, run away. It's always a sign that something bizarre is going to follow.
My friend sends me lots of joke emails. Most of them make the rounds so many times that you've actually seen most of the stuff a million times. But this "Gentle Thought" is something I ought to print out and tack onto my bulletin board so I can engrave it into my head:
The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the
right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting
A cotton candy confection of a book: Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes. Miss Sykes used to work at Vogue, so I assume she knows of what she writes. Blondes is a novel satirizing the young, hip, glamorous and RICH of New York City. Now THIS book I thought was funny (see how unfunny I thought The Nanny Diaries were, below).
If you are a guy, don't pick it up. If you're a girl and you want something about how those "other half" (the rich) live--and be assured of how shallow they are--then this is a quick read. It's a "beach book" for sure, and I'd give it 3 towels out of 5.
Finished this book a couple of nights ago. Interesting, and has given me a lot to think about. Basically it is the story of an MIT grad student and his new wife who go and live at the edge of a community (Amish/Mennonite strain) that uses virtually no modern technology. They stay for 18 months, experiencing life "off the grid."
It is fascinating, and there were several observations that even my relatively technologically saturated life bear out. The first one made me laugh out loud: The advent of dishwashers, those great labor savers, didn't do anything to reduce the pile of dishes on the kitchen counter. That is borne out as truth in MY house! Our dishwasher has been broken for the past 3 months, and we've been washing by hand. No more dishes are sitting around than there were before, when we simply argued about who would load them and who would unload. Go figure.
Anyway, the other observation was about time, and about how, without technological stimulation, it seemed to slow down. Now look, we have never gone without a lot of technology. But we did go for YEARS with no television on weeknights. I can vouch for the fact that nights with no tv seem longer (IN A GOOD WAY!) than those with tv. PapaC and I had discussed that, and could never put a finger on why that would be so. The act of reading, say, in a quiet house is a most satisfying experience. And hour of it is so satisfying (to me) that when it is over, you feel that it must be much later. To find out you still have another hour or so free is wiggle-your-toes-and-settle-further-back-into- the-pillows yummy. That has NEVER happened to me watching tv or videos. Then it is always "Wow! Where did the time go?" disconcerting.
I'm not rushing out to by a farm. But it does make you think about whether we are using the machines or they are conditioning us.
......happened last night, and it's not the first time it has happened. I'm beginning to think there is something wrong with me.
I picked up a copy of The Nanny Diaries at the library the other day. I don't know why--it was sitting with a display of books, and I remembered someone telling me she had loved the book. So I checked it out.
On the back of the book, there are snippets of reviews. Here are a couple of snips from them: "at times, impossibly funny" and "social satire that's as moving as it is funny" and "with a sophistication and wit that anyone can enjoy."
So, I have now finished the book. It was compelling to read. But there was NOTHING, not one thing, that I considered funny in the book AT ALL. It was all incredibly sad to me. The fact that I assumed that this was, in general, just a fictionalized version of what the young authors had experienced as nannies made it even more horrifying.
It reminded me of watching Muriel's Wedding, which is shelved in the comedy section of Hollywood video. It wasn't funny, either. Not that I thought it was a bad movie--I just didn't think it was a comedy.
And it reminded me of sitting in a theater watching Pulp Fiction. [Big ole MamaT warning on this one: If you haven't seen it, don't. You don't want those nasty images burned into your brain.] I have never felt more like an alien than when I was sitting in the theater surrounded by people who were LAUGHING when a guy's brains got blown out and sprayed around the inside of the car. Not funny. Not funny at all.
Look, maybe I'm humor-impaired. But I'm certainly losing touch with what passes as "modern humor."
Here's a sample:
Asked how what he does for a living is affected by his spiritual beliefs, Maher is ready with a provocative answer: "Well, I'm spreading the anti-gospel, aren't I?"
Like any polished preacher, his anti-gospel message, based on the premise that religion is "dangerous," can be summed up in three clear points.
"It wastes energy -- so much time and energy that could be spent on more important things, more-constructive things. It stops people from thinking. And it justifies insanity," he says, laughing. "Flying planes into buildings was a faith-based initiative. Other than that, I love it."
Reminds me of a line from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons: "What a maroon!"
From my daily devotional:
There is no end to the spending, getting, having. We are insatiable consumers, dead set on competing, upgrading, showing off ("If you've got it, flaunt it"). We simply cannot bear to miss something others deem necessary. So the world ruins the peace and simplicity God would give us. Contentment with what He has chosen for us dissolves, along with godliness, while, instead of giving thanks, we lust and wail, teaching our children to lust and wail too.
I just love new babies. And old babies. And toddlers. And kids. And teens. Oh, you know, just all of them!
....Zteen, two of our friends, and I went to see:
at Theater Arlington. Zteen had never seen it before, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time, followed by supper at a restaurant. We dragged ourselves home at 12:30 a.m. (which I know doesn't seem late to you night owls, but seemed extremely late to this morning person!).
We were talking about the show over supper, and decided that Robert Preston was THE Music Man, and that Matthew Broderick was a terrible imposter.
Such hummable songs. Here's one to think about, because I'm tired of worrying over politics and the dark age we're living in:
There were bells on the hill
But I never heard them ringing,
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you.
There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you.
And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses,
They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew.
There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No, I never heard it at all
Till there was you!
PapaC, I love you!
.... over at Two Sleepy Mommies!
Peony has already started. Go over and add your suggestions for the soon-arriving Mossboy!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
Always say what you feel, and do what you think is good and right. If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.
I hope this is a joke. I fear it is not.
What can be done, will be done. Oh, we'll have really, really good reasons for it, you know. And it won't be US who are affected, you know. Just THEM, and they won't really know the difference. You know how THEY are.
Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
It is time for the "continuing churches" to see that there is nothing to continue with in the US. Unity, unity, unity is all the talk. But there is no unity within the body, and, in fact, there cannot be any longer.
Bless their totally misguided hearts. Sometimes you have to either push out those who would change who you are or walk out on your own. No one wants to lose the (sometimes) beautiful buildings they have spent a lifetime paying for. But what does it do to gain a building and lose.......(you know the rest).
My heart breaks for the church home of my childhood. But it is inevitable without any real authority. And Canterbury just doesn't have it.
....there was a quote from George MacDonald:
"He is not terrified. One believing like him in the perfect Love and perfect Will of a Father of men, as the fact of facts, fears nothing. Fear is faithlessness.... A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear. It is in the cracks, crannies, and gulfy faults of our belief, the gaps that are not faith, that the snow of apprehension settles and the ice of unkindness forms."
....over at Quiet Life (link to the right): Tradition Day by Day: Home Page
This has readings from church writers for every day of the year. And not just the famous ones, either. Check it out. I've saved it to my favorite places.
.....while I was eating my oatmeal. It was in the new incarnation of Life that is appearing in our Friday newspaper. It is part of a letter written by "celebrated writer" (I don't know who he is) Tim O'Brien, who an older father, to his 16-month-old son, Timmy. The whole letter is touching, but especially this part:
More than that, I long for the day when you might also forgive me. I waited too long, Timmy. Until the late afternoon of June 20, 2003, I had defined myself, for better and for worse, by the novels and stories I had written. I had sought myself in sentences. I had loved myself only insofar as I loved a chapter or a scene or a scrap of dialogue. This is not to demean my life or my writing. I do hope you will someday read the books and stories; I hope you will find my ghost in those pages, my best self, the man I would wish to be for you. Call it pride, call it love, but I even dare to hope that you will commit a line or two to memory, for in the dream-space behind those vowels and consonants is the sound of your father's voice, the kid I once was, the man I now am, the old man I will soon become.
That said, I would trade every syllable of my life's work for an extra 5 or 10 years with you, whatever the going rate might be. A father's chief duty is not to instruct or to discipline. A father's chief duty is to be present. And I yearn to be with you forever, always present, even knowing it cannot and will not happen.
Now THAT is lovely.
THIS is what I am supposed to be watching tonight: HOCKEY.
And I'm not.
Zteen and I may be the only people in the US who are totally bummed out by this, but we are in mourning.
Name your THREE:
1. Pet Peeves: big media "news"casts, drink holders that won't actually hold a cup (the sole defect in my VW bug), and people who say "we can't legislate morality"
2. Favorite Sounds: PapaC coming in the front door, Zteen laughing at Jay Leno's headlines on Monday nights, McBaby yelling, "That's MY Terry" at everyone in the grocery store as we pass them
3. Biggest Fears: despair, hell, PapaC losing his job
4. Biggest Challenges: staying within my WW points (again); loving my neighbor AT ALL, much less as much as myself; really meaning that THY will be done thing
5. Favorite Department Stores: Target, Target, Target!!!!!!
6. Most Used Words: Well, I, Mine
7. Favorite Pizza Toppings: Pepperoni, sausage, hamburger (no green stuff on my pizza, thank you very much--if I wanted to eat healthy, I'd eat a salad)
8. Favorite Cartoon Characters: Pepe Lepew, Mike (from Monsters, Inc.), Roadrunner
9. Movies Recently Watched: (OK, this is embarrassing) Mean Girls, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, and some other teen-aged girl movie that I can't remember at the moment. It also had Lindsay Lohan in it.
10. Favorite Fruits & Vegetables: Apples, corn on the cob, bananas
The memo, by ABC News' Mark Halperin to ABC News staff, notes that the "stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns" and states that the responsibilities of the news media have "become quite grave." Halperin then tells staff members of recent stories in the New York Times and Newsweek which claim that the current Bush attacks on Kerry "involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done."
Halperin concedes that Kerry "distorts, takes out of context, and [makes] mistakes all the time," but justifies these actions by saying that Kerry's tactics are "not central to his efforts to win." In ABC's version of journalistic integrity, Halperin says that his organization has a "responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest," but goes on to explain that this responsibility "doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable."
From the newsletter GOPUSA--I'll do a little more research later, during McBaby's nap time, perhaps.
I'm stepping out on a limb, here, because I know that many St. Blog's folks probably read and enjoy the New Oxford Review. The magazine budget around here only stretches so far, and I enjoy First Things, Touchstone and crisis enough that there has never been a reason to drop one to pick up another. I have occasionally had the opportunity to read an issue of NOR here or there, courtesy of a friend who has a subscription and would toss me a back issue or two when she was in the midst of cleaning and organizing.
Before I go further, let me say that I have long seen their advertisements in National Review and have thought them funny, in a dark sort of way. Mama T is NOT without her dark side.
But I just finished looking at the September issue. Or as finished as I will ever be with it. It is the oddest feeling. While sharing many of the same basic beliefs as the writers in this publication (particularly the article about "When You Get a Letter from the Diocese"--sorry, McBaby's asleep in the other room, I can't get the magazine for the exact reference), I have never felt so, so, so....I don't know--slimey? soiled? something. The whole experience of reading it was just.......eeeeeuuuuuwwww.
Maybe it's a "girl thing." Maybe men, or better women than I, can read the magazine and react simply intellectually to the arguments. But I found it so very adolescent in its adamant conviction of its own righteousness and truthfulness. And I'm not a stranger to being adamant in the conviction of my own righteousness! I don't, however, think that those are my best moments--the ones I will be most proud of when I stand before Christ. But then maybe that's just me.
In praying the daily office lately, we have read through some of the OT prophets--who had harsh messages to give Israel. Unsugar-coated to the extreme. But it didn't seem like those OT prophets took any delight AT ALL in giving Israel the message. In fact, their response was almost the opposite. "Please, don't make me say this. I don't WANNA!"
Perhaps that is what seems missing to me in what I read in NOR. The sense of broken-heartedness over the message. "Oh, how I wish I didn't have to tell you this." It seemed, at least to this Mama, that any broken-heartedness had morphed into some sort of angry glee over pointing out the failures of others....
Anyway, it caught me by surprise. I truly didn't expect to have such a visceral reaction to a group of folks with whom I probably share more beliefs in common than not.
Then, last night as I was reading in bed, I came across something that seemed appropriate. It's from Fr. Groeschel's book A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations. I'll post it later, as morning prayer calls for me now.....
since I was out of commission on Friday:
This is the blog for CURE: Citizens United to Resist Euthanasia.
Read. Pray. Help however you can.
We just had two training sessions at our church for Project Gabriel. Here's a link to their web page. In fact, our parish will have a sign going up outside very soon to tell the world we want to help mothers and unborn babies.
Oh, and by the way, in case you didn't know what "whingeing" meant (I didn't), here is the definition:
whinge: U.K. grumble peevishly: to complain annoyingly or continuously about something perceived as relatively unimportant ( informal )
Well, then, I'd say that's about right.
Comes from the Lifesite.org website. The original story was posted in May(before the Olympics), but I hadn't heard this:
UK Athlete Gives Up Olympic Hope for Unexpected Child
One of Britain's brightest Olympic hopes, the 400-metres hurdler Tasha Danvers-Smith, spoke of both her joy and devastation over an unplanned pregnancy that has dashed her chances of an Olympic medal at Athens.
The newly-married south London athlete, who now lives in Los Angeles, admitted she was so shocked that she even briefly considered an abortion, before deciding she could not terminate the pregnancy.
"I had high hopes. I thought I had a good chance of getting a medal, if not a gold one. So it was quite devastating for me to find out I was pregnant" she said. "But now I feel so happy," added the 26-year-old athlete, who married her American coach Darrell Smith, 33, in November.
Now 10 weeks pregnant Mrs Danvers-Smith, from Camberwell, South London, who was ranked sixth in the world last year, said all her hopes had been centred on the 2004 Olympics.
"I was in the shape of my life. I was more focused than ever before," she said. "Then things didn't feel quite right. I was feeling tired all the time, feeling flat for no reason." Pregnancy never occurred to her because her cycle seemed normal, she said, and she suffered no morning sickness. "I was still training for my life".
"The timing could not have been worse. If I had run at Athens it would have meant greater financial security, more recognition. There is nothing negative that can happen when you have a shot at an Olympic medal.
"I cannot lie, I considered an abortion. On the one hand you look at the situation and say, 'I can have a baby and incur more costs, more problems.' We don't even have a house yet, we are staying with Darrell's parents. And I am the major breadwinner.
"When my body is my business, then if my body is not functioning, there is no business.
"So the thought did cross our minds as an option. But this line from the Scriptures kept coming into my head: 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?'.
"For me, the whole wide world was the Olympics. At the same time, I felt I would be losing my soul. It just wouldn't fit well. It would be a forced decision. I would have had to have forced myself to do something I didn't want to do. Even though, as much as I would love to go the Olympics and everything, it would be something that wasn't going to make me happy at all.
"Even the thought of it depressed me. I cried thinking about it as I tried to convince myself this is what I should do, because it wasn't the right time, and we didn't have the finances. It just made me so upset.
"So then I knew. For me it was not going to be an option. And as soon as I decided that, I felt so happy. Even though I know it is going to be a struggle financially and that I am sacrificing my medal hopes."
Now that really is something!
The Person Who Cannot Despair
Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a person deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost...Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves. But a person who is truly humble cannot despair, because in a humble person there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.
Thank you. I needed that.
This is a link to a column by Walter Williams about Benedict College in Columbia, S.C.
In a student's freshman year, 60% of the final grade in any course is give for EFFORT, 40% for subject mastery. So, if you try really hard, but fail algebra, you can still get a C!
For sophomore year, the percentage changes to 50%/50%, and in junior and senior years, effort is not graded at all.
The professors are generally a'gin it--and good for them. (I didn't expect that.) But the thought that the president of the college could have ever thought it was a good idea? Remarkably dumb.
Look, I have a good friend who is a college professor. She says effort is what you use to give a hard-working student a bump from 89.3 to an A at the end of the semester. I can see that. But 60% of the grade? Not a chance.
In the interest of trying to be as apolitical about the issue as possible, here is a link to the Democrats for Life of Texas page. These folks are fighting an uphill battle in their party. If'n you sympathize with them, go and check out their site.
Having been raised in a place and time when conservative Democrat was NOT an oxymoron, I can understand how people can feel like their party up and left 'em.
Twins win, 2-0. THE HATED YANKEES LOSE!!!!!
(I know, I know, it's only one game. But a girl can dream, can't she? I DESPISE the Yankees.)
Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. Funny, funny, funny!
Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith. The third of the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I'm loving this one so far, and I'm about 1/4 in.
Black Robe by Brian Moore. It's a future book club book, so it's in the on deck circle.
I was given a copy of Goodbye, Good Men, but that's the kind of book I have to wait to read until PapaC is back. Otherwise I tend to despair.
I have had to reshake my reading list, because PapaC is working out of town for 6 weeks. When he's gone, I don't let myself read anything too depressing, because it's hard for me to pull myself out of the funk without him! I need his even-handed presence to put it in perspective: "Right. Put that down, and let's watch football."
So, I've finished the following:
#34: The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth by Lemony Snicket. More silliness and laughs in the series of "Unfortunate Events."
#35: Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith. The second book in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. I love these books. Precious Ramotswe is a lovely addition to the Miss Marple, Mrs. Pollifax genre of books. Less about the "mystery", more about the characters and Africa itself. I just read an interesting article from Christianity Today about the series. I'll find the link and post it later.
#36: The Happy Prince & Other Stories by Oscar Wilde. First, I didn't know he wrote any fairy tales. Second, I didn't know he had sons to write them for. Third, I didn't know how terribly SAD fairy tales could be. Love leads to the ultimate sacrifice--giving up one's life for the beloved. Many are overtly Christian in theme. I was surprised by them.
Wouldn't it just be GREAT if this panned out???? Imagine--we've got all the raw materials we would ever need!
They aim to give 25% of GROSS to pro-life causes.
Gotta love that "in your face" name and graphic. Here's a link to their website. They have a store where you can support them by buying bumper stickers, etc. The most touching? The lapel pin with "T4 Never Again" on it. T4 was the name of the Nazis' plan to exterminate people with disabilities.
They have some important things to say about living with disabilities--and they speak from experience.
So, the Summas will also be posting Pro-life info all month!
To begin with, let's highlight again the case that is breaking all of our hearts:
Please contribute what you can. And if you absolutely can't spare any extra bucks, please make a commitment to prayer. And to a few emails or telephone calls if needed.
.....courtesy of the Bruderhof's Daily Dig:
It Begins at Home
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The world is upside down because there is so very little love in the home. We have no time for our children; we have no time for each other; and there is no time to enjoy each other. That is why there is so much suffering and so much unhappiness in the world today. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for what is bigger and better and greater, and mothers and fathers often do not have time for each other, let alone their children. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.
.....but now they also have a set of lessons for ADULTS! This sounds like such a good idea, that I may check it out for myself: CatechismClass.com
From Fr. Rob over at Thrown Back (link to the right):
Ellen Goodman is like a clown on fire: kind of funny, kind of sad.
......over at Quiet Life (link to the right, and if you haven't been, go!), here is something from Elisabeth Elliot. I, too, have always loved Mrs. Elliot, and used to listen to her on Christian radio every morning. I liked what came in my Elisabeth Elliot devotional today:
When you take the risk of obedience, you find solid rock beneath you--and markers, evidence that someone has traveled this route before. "The Lord your God will cross over at your head... he will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not be discouraged or afraid" (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; 31:3, 8, NEB).
"Risk of obedience." I love that. It's something that has always felt like a big risk, the ultimate leap of faith. To actually agree to "obey." Hey, we live in a culture that thinks that obedience is the stuff of mindless automatons. And for many, many years I bought into exactly the same cultural mindset. Most of the time without even realizing it!
But it remains true that every time I have stepped out in faith--to obey before fully understanding--I have always found the sure rock beneath my feet. When we came into the Church, we satisfied ourselves on a few big issues, and left the rest up as a matter of obedience and assent, trusting that we would find the rock when we had enough time to look. And it's there.
Thanks be to God, it's there.
Here's a little hymn I thought of when I read the devotional. You can sing it to lots of tunes (Adeste Fideles, Lyons, St. Denio). Go to Cyberhymnal to hear the tune if'n you don't remember it.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
The soul that to Jesus hath fled for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake."