MamaT: September 2008 Archives

Quote 2 for today


There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence.

------------------------------Will Rogers

To which MamaT says, "Amen!"

Quote for today

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There's two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither one works.

---------------------------------Will Rogers

And PapaC says, "Amen!"

Pretty Shoe, er BOOT, Tuesday


Today is the day for Pretty Shoes, but since I've just come back from spending a week out in South Dakota and Wyoming, I thought I'd break the tradition just a little, and make today all about that iconic footwear: the cowboy boot. But don't call 'em "cowboy boots" if you want to fit in with the guys who actually wear 'em (i.e. most of the guys in my family). They're just "boots". What other kind could there be?

Anyway, after my Coach bag (which I received as a gift this past fall), the leather thing I would like most to own is a pair of Lucchese boots. They start around $500, and go up (rapidly in some cases), based on the skins used and the quality of those skins. Nope, there's no such thing as vegan Luccheses.

Now, if you want to be taken seriously, don't buy these. They're pretty, but I've never seen any real cowgirl wear anything like these. But if you want to look like a country western singer, you could try 'em:


For a more traditional look (and remember, some boots are quite flashy), you could try these. They might be a little too "Dallas Cowboy-y", but I like 'em anyway:


If those aren't your style, try these red ones with black stitching. Guns up, Raider fans! You know who you are!


But, of course, we had to have Summa boots! I adore these and would buy 'em in a heartbeat if I had the change in my pocket. Probably a good thing I don't, huh?


And finally, my pick of the week. I want these so badly my teeth hurt!


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

I'm back.....

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.....from the wilds of South Dakota and Wyoming. AND I have pictures. And a lot to show you. AND there'll be pretty shoes tomorrow.

BUT, owing to complications at the end of the trip, and I'll get into that later, we didn't get home until 3 a.m. this morning. Needless to say, I feel more than a little "wrung out" as we say around these parts.

But, boy, oh boy! Did we see some awesome stuff.

And my soul feels better.


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Prayer is the lifting of our hearts and minds to God. For no matter what we're saying, we're asking, "Do you love me?"

And no matter how He answers, He's saying, "Yes, I do."

-------------------------Mother Angelica

A quote


Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied.

-----------------St. Jerome

I'm getting ready for vacation next week, so I'm practically killing myself getting ready. This quote makes me feel a little better, though. If the devil calls, I'm certainly occupied!

Watched last night at CasaS

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Thumbs up with a disclaimer. Thomas Hardy makes me sad. This did, too. Very talky, but I enjoyed it. Well, enjoyed as much as you can enjoy a complete tragedy.

And as a side note for the Smock: Ciarin Hinds stars in this along with James Purefoy (Marc Antony) and Polly Walker (Atia of the Julii) from Rome. It's like Old Home Week!

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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OK, there is nothing I like better than gray shoes. I think it goes back to when I first got out of college and went to work. I bought a pair of Pappagallo gray suede pumps, and ya'll, I thought I was the classiest broad in the accounting firm.

Then one of my dogs chewed up ONE of the shoes.


I would have been better if he had chewed up both of them. But to sit and hold one perfectly lovely pump in one hand and a chewed up drippy mess of a shoe in the other? It was enough to make me weep.

I no longer weep over shoes.

But I'd buy these in a heartbeat:


The next pair of shoes is by a company, Irregular Choice, whose shoes I detest. Well, every time but this time. Either my standards are slipping or they are getting better. Or maybe it falls into the "even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while" category. But I do like these:


Then, of course, I had to end with the most "Summa" shoes I could find, and here are this week's contenders, both by a company called "Betseyville". Related to Betsey Johnson? Probably. But we'd look smashing, darlings, in these:



Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Did you know?

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That today is National Guacamole Day?

I think it could be my own personal holiday (but don't tell anyone!).

Love him!

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Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or "ensouled." But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.

Of course, we now know with biological certainty exactly when human life begins. Thus, today's religious alibis for abortion and a so-called "right to choose" are nothing more than that -- alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it -- whether they're famous or not -- fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the "separation of Church and state" does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it's always important to know what our faith actually teaches.

+ Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver

A quote for today

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Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

---------------------Mother Teresa

For you rabid "filmies" out there....


......You might want to check out the Film Movement and some of its suggestions. Here's a link to an article on the Christianity Today site. Note: the movies are not "Christian", they're just supposed to be great art. I'm off to see if I can find the film referenced in the commentary.

From today's reading.....

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Let us look at the historical character of Catholicism first. It is convenient, no doubt, to call oneself a Christian, and even (by a modern metaphor) to call oneself "a Catholic", without feeling responsible for the whole chequered past of Christendom; without making oneself an accessory to the fires of Smithfield, or being tarred with the brush of Torquemada. Happy is the nation (it has been said) which has no past; and a Church of yesterday enjoys the advantages which that dictum implies. To be tied to no dead hand of tradition, bowed down by no cumbrous legacies of antiquity, leaves the mind more free for speculation, and the heart for adventure. But in disclaiming the dead, you are yourself disclaimed by the dead. If you are not prepared to blush for Alexander the Sixth, it is childishly inconsistent to take pride in the memory of Saint Francis. You may claim a kind of sentimental connection with the Christianity of earlier ages, but not a historic, not a vital continuity. The Fathers of the early Church may be your models and your heroes, but they are no genuine part of your ancestry.

---------------Ronald Knox, The Belief of Catholics

The PERFECT gift for the Smock!

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Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday on Thursday

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Let's see. I just finished Peggy Noonan's book on JPII, her John Paul the Great: Memoirs of a Spiritual Father. It was wonderful. And she doesn't sugarcoat it--she deals explicitly with the abuse crisis in the Church, and gives her take on why he didn't respond more forcefully to it. Her explanation is as good as any I've read.

I'm currently in the midst of Mary Gordon's Final Payments. It's our book club book for the month, and I have to have it finished by next Thursday. It's an interesting book--a story about a daughter who took care of her stroke-impaired father from the time of his first stroke, when she was 19, until his death, when she was 30. After his death, she is forced to find a new life for herself--with a job, and something to do. She's lost her identity--as the "good girl who took care of her father"--and struggles to figure out what she wants as a woman. She has fallen away from the Faith, and yet is drawn to the priests in her life, who she recognizes as genuinely good people. She doesn't want the faith of her father, who was very orthodox, and used it as a weapon against any and all in his path, but she is aware that she has lost something by losing it.

She makes some radically bad choices immediately following her father's death--affairs with two married men, for instance--but they seem understandable (not that I'm condoning them, just that I could see how it would happen) given her history. I've not read the end yet (I'm about 2/3 of the way through), so I'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

The writing, though, is beautiful and evocative.

Next on the To Read pile is finishing the Theroux book Riding the Iron Rooster. Or maybe not, since we'll actually be on vacation soon and I might not want to read about some place while I'm actually visiting another!

Quote of the day

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You don't get to be a saint just by breathin' in and out.

-----------------------Mother Angelica

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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I love Lily Pulitzer shoes. I love to look at the whole Lily Pulitzer catalog, because it makes me think that I might actually be able to look like those preppy people in the Hamptons eating watercress sandwiches at a table on the grass under century old trees and catching up on the gossip and Muffy and Biff and their children. In other words, a complete fantasy world, radically divorced from the reality of my own life.

But you'll not find a pair of shoes more classy, classic OR sexy than these. 'Course they're also out of my price range, but......


But you know what? Here are the shoes I really want. Now these are the boots from that old song, "These boots are made for walkin'......."

Yee haw!


Nothin' like a good funeral

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That sounds odd, doesn't it? But it's true. On Saturday we laid to rest our beloved Ms. Betty, and it was done beautifully. After it was over, several people told me, "Just save that funeral bulletin. It's exactly what I want." And I pretty much agree.

Part of what happened was to honor Ms. Betty personally. And part of it was to honor the place she held in the parish. People who were not even particularly close to Ms. Betty were still affected by her death. They were moved by the loss of a person who was a visible symbol of continuity, stability and faithfulness. Betty was very loved, in a personal sense, but she was also respected and honored for the place she held within our family.

This makes perfect sense to me. Stuart, a convert from the black Baptist church tradition, says that in many black churches where he grew up (he is in his mid-50's), the older women, often widows, had a special place they sat in the church. They often wore white on Sundays--part of the position they held. Though it was no position that would appear on any organizational chart, it was as real as those that did. And whether or not other women in the church used the title, they were invariably called "Sister _____".

Oh, yes. That was it exactly. She was one of our church matriarchs, though she would have laughed at being called so. Dignified, humble, loving. She would not, and did not, realize in what high esteem she was held.

We need those people. It is why Fr A is right about community and its importance. It is tempting, oh so tempting, to withdraw from the community as we age--we "put in our time", we've "been there, done that."

But you know what? You don't get to take off the yoke until the end. While you might not need the community (though I would argue the opposite of that--and strongly), the community needs YOU. We need the example of a lifelong faith. We need the example of lifelong service. We want to see Jesus.

And I saw Jesus in Betty.

And so did a bunch of other people.

So we sent Betty off with the best that we can do. And she would have loved it. It was good. Very, very good. And though I will miss her every time I walk into the sacristy to do Altar Guild, I know that I will see her again. And she will tell me, "You know, those were too many roses on the altar. Ya'll shouldn't have gone to that trouble."

And I will laugh. Because, if anything, there weren't roses enough.

Not in the whole world.

And now the big news in Summa World!

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Ta Da!

We are happy, no, ecstatic, no, well, more than that, but I can't think of another word for it at the moment, to announce that once again there will be THREE, count 'em THREE, Summa Mamas posting on this blog.

Effective immediately, please welcome a special new addition to our lineup: LaMamacita!

LaMamacita is a member of our wonderful parish, and is a whole bunch of things that we are not. She is young. Really, really young, ya'll. (Especially when you compare her to me. I might be old enough to be Smock's babysitter, but I really COULD be LaMamacita's mom!)

She has three beautiful children--all of whom have the illustrious Smock as godmother. Two boys and one girl. She has a cutie husband.

She's also crunchy to my not so crunchy. She cooks vegetarian. She knits. She is another attachment parenting mom (who knew I'd be surrounded by 'em. I'd be too tired.) and a militant breastfeeder.

AND she's got tattoos.

Plus, as the Zman would say, she's pretty.

On top of that she's a faithful daughter of the Church, a lover of Jesus and his mama. She's smart as a whip and funny, too. She's all that, plus more. We love her and we know you will, too.

All around, a very, very cool addition to the Summas.

Welcome aboard LaMamacita! We're glad to have you!

Fine Art Friday - The Letter P Edition


Only one painting today, because it is so weird and wonderful. Today's entry in FAF is by Jan Provost, a painter who painted in the late 15th and early 16th century. This painting was done c. 1500, and hangs in the Louvre.

First look at the picture:


A Christian Allegory

Different, huh?

Here's what Sister Wendy had to say about it, in her book Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces:

In pictorial terms, an allegory is an image in which every element has an intellectual meaning. For us, the pleasure lies in attempting to decipher what those meanings are. This is a Christian allegory, and the broad outlines are clear enough: at the top is the all-seeing eye of God, on one side the Lamb of Redemption, and on the other the Bible. A great hand, surely the hand of God, holds the terrestrial globe, which is surmounted by a cross. But readings of this kind, though not untruthful, deny the glorious ambiguity that characterizes allegory at its finest. For those to whom Christian iconography is a closed book, such an image can seem surreal, conrived, unable to convey a sacred meaning except in the most theoretical sense. Yet despite all this, who can be indifferent to this strange and haunting picture, to those hands that press up, to that peculiar and sinister eye below them, or to the expressions--Christ's, questioning and uncertain, Mary's sunlit and hopeful?

Anyway, spend a little time looking at this one. Hard to believe it's more than 500 years old, isn't it?

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Booking Through Thursday

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I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I'm beginning to feel like I'm the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be 'up' on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because 'everyone else' was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it's your duty to keep up on current trends?

Well, probably if I were a reviewer I would have to keep up on current trends, wouldn't I? I would think there's not a particular market for reviewing, say, Charles Dickens' latest novel.....

I don't read much that is "new" (or "improved" for that matter). I get relatively few entries on my "to read" lists from anything new. And if I DID, it would be years before I got to it anyway, so it would no longer be new then, would it?

Once in a blue moon, there is so much hubbub over a book that I will pick it up to read--Harry Potter was the last one of those, I think. And that was because I had a 13 year old son when they started who was anxious to read the book.

So, nope, not trendy here.

How 'bout you?

And, by the way, where do you get your entries on your "To Read" list. You do have one of those lists, don't you????

Today's is my mom's birthday

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Yep, today would have been my mother's 76th birthday.

I expected to wake up sad and depressed--I had so wanted to spend another birthday with her.

But a strange (maybe not so strange) thing happened this morning. After the alarm went off, and PapaC got up, I lay there in bed in that funny dozy half-asleep-half-awake state that you get to wallow in for a few minutes when you get to be the last one up.

And I thought about what today was, and an amazing sense of warmth and peace and happiness--yes, happiness--came over me. It was enough to actually make me smile to myself, and smile even now as I'm typing this. A sense that all not only will be well, but that all is well, right here, right now.

Oh, yes, I have sad days to come. Probably more than I can count. But today I KNOW that everything is fine. And that I'm supposed to be happy when there are things to be happy about.

My mama let me know.

Thanks, Mom! I love you, lady!

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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It doesn't seem like Wednesday, does it? That Monday off really messed me up.

Let's see. On the nightstand is Paul Theroux's travel book Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China. After watching the Olympics in China, I wanted to revisit this book, which I read when it first came out in 1988 or so. While I suspect things have changed somewhat since then, in a place as vast as China, change comes mighty slowly outside that city center. I think I would find much of what he sees to still be true.

Theroux is a vivid and gifted travel writer, and one who steps off the main track to talk to people and get a more "inside" view of the places he travels. It's what we all wish we did when we traveled, but few of us do. He has rather obvious biases, likes and dislikes, but that makes it more like really talking to someone who has been where you would like to go. I'm not sure a train trip through China is my dream vacation, but he makes me at least consider it. That's saying something.

I finished my Peter Kreeft book, so it's back to Peggy Noonan's book on JPII to have something to read besides "all China all the time."

How 'bout you?

For Ms. Betty


One of her favorites:

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

The tune is here.

The Summas beg your prayers....


.....for our parish's beloved Ms. Betty. She slipped into a coma this morning at 4 a.m., and it appears today will be the day she gets to meet Jesus. Good for her, bad for us.

She has given me yet another picture of a death met with courage, dignity and faith. I owe her so much.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.



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