April 2005 Archives

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nelson

And one of my favorite Willie Nelson songs (since I think it is impossible to only have ONE favorite Willie Nelson song!):
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground

If you had not have fallen
then I would not have found you
Angel flying too close to the ground
I patched up your broken wing and hung around for a while
trying to keep your spirits up and your fever down
So leave me if you need to, I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground.

I knew someday that you would fly away
for love's the greatest healer to be found
So leave me if you need to, I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground

Fly on fly on past, the speed of sound
I'd rather see you up than see you down
So leave me if you need to, I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground.

.....is, I suppose, the sure sign that I am an old married woman, not out and about on the weekend. Or a sign that I mismanage my time during the week, and have to get ready for our parish council meeting tomorrow at the last minute. Or it might be a sign that I have WAY TOO MUCH TO DO! (I vote for the latter, because it doesn't make me seem incompetent. But I suspect that I am basically a mis-manager of time.)

Anyway, the only saving grace of working at my desk is that Saturday night is "Classic Country" on the radio station I listen to when I have to work on stuff I hate. Tonight they are featuring Johnny Rodriguez, and they just played my parents' song. It made me think back to that time before my mom got so sick. Ya'll, she was just BEAUTIFUL, and absolutely the best dancer I ever saw. When she and Pap-paw danced, people would smile. She was so full of herself then. And he just thought she was perfect, and it shone through his eyes. It made me know what I wanted for myself.

I hope that Zteen has a memory like that. A time when he knew that his parents loved each other with a love so strong that it survived hard times, health problems and age. It would be the best gift we ever gave him. 'Cause he would know it's possible, and worth fighting for when you find it.

Anyway, here's my parents' favorite song, written by Left Frizzell and sung by Johnny Rodriguez (and also by Merle Haggard):

That's the Way Love Goes

I've been throwin' horseshoes
Over my left shoulder.
I've spent most all my life,
Looking for that four leaf clover.

When you run with me,
Chasing my rainbows,
Honey, I love you too,
That's the way love goes.

That's the way love goes, babe
That's the music God made
For all the world to sing
It never gets old; it grows.

Losing makes me sorry
You say, "Honey, don't worry."
Honey I love you, too.
That's the way love goes.

Go now and read:

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What Pope Benedict XVI Means by George Weigel.

A snippet:

Ever since the Second Vatican Council, some Catholics and most of the world media have expected --- and in certain cases, demanded --- that the Catholic Church follow the path taken by virtually every other non-fundamentalist western Christian community over the past century: the path of accommodation to secular modernity and its conviction that religious belief, if not mere childishness, is a lifestyle choice with no critical relationship to the truth of things.

These expectations have involved both doctrinal accommodation (e.g., the question of whether Jesus is the unique savior of the world) and moral accommodation (e.g., the many issues involved in the post-Freudian claim that human beings are essentially bundles of desires).

I respect the decisions that other Christian communities have made, before God and before the bar of history, in adopting accommodation strategies. Yet it is very, very difficult to argue that this strategy of cultural accommodation --- which in some cases bleeds into cultural appeasement --- has solved the 250-year-old problem of being Christian in the modern world.

Nor is it possible to demonstrate, empirically, that cultural accommodation or appeasement produce vital, growing, compelling Christian communities. Precisely the opposite is the case. Christian communities with porous doctrinal and moral boundaries wither and die. Christian communities with clear doctrinal and moral borders flourish, even amidst the acids of modernity.

Friday Feast, ya'll!

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Which keys do you have on your key chain?

What is the most spontaneous thing you've ever done?

SaladWho is the best cook in your family?

Main Course
If you were to write a "how-to" book, what would the title be?

Name a recent fad you've tried.

I'll answer in the comments boxes with you!

Interesting quote......

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........from my reading last night. I am almost finished with Helena by Evelyn Waugh.

Constantine has packed up and left Rome, going off to "start fresh" and build a new city of God (and himself)--Constantinople. Helena, his mother, has stayed behind in Rome, and is speaking to Pope Sylvester:

"I don't like new things," said Helena. "No one does in the land I come from. I don't like Constantine's idea of a New Rome. It sounds so empty and clean, like the newly swept house in the Gospel that was filled with devils."

The were getting along together famously, these two admirable old people. Helena had stayed behind after Constantine's departure, and the pope had seemed to expect it.

"You can't just send for peace and wisdom, can you?" Helena continued, "and build houses for them and shut them in. Why, they don't exist at all except in people do they? Give me the real bones every time.

I like this. It is exactly my sense of the Church. Dusty, messy, unkempt in some places. Needing some changes. But THERE. Existing. Holding the "real bones." Not started afresh by someone who had a better idea. Not a sterile McMansion somewhere gated away from the rest of the world.

The Church has nooks and crannies everywhere. Odd little rooms of differing devotions and prayers. And Lord knows, she has stables that need cleaning out. But I prefer her, with her "real bones" to any new place I've ever seen.

Please pray....


......a dear friend of mine has just had to put her mother into hospice care. The doctors are giving Florence 3 months at the most.

Florence is in her eighties, and is a beloved member of our parish and her family. SpecialK's hubby is her grandson. She is a dear woman, and I know she would appreciate your prayers as she prepares to go home.

Please also pray for her daughter Judy and the whole family.

Thank you!

Mouse Poetry Voting

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.....is ongoing over at Apologia! (Link to the right)

BOTH the Mamas have poems entered in the contest (though mine was a late entry), so we solicit votes unashamedly. (And, Dan, don't laugh at our poems! You're the poet. We're the Mamas!)

Go vote!

Amazing Race comments:

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1. It is slightly embarrassing to me how absolutely hooked on this show I am.

2. Yay for my old people! I know some people hate Gretchen's voice, but I think she's FUNNY! "66 year old women should not be doing this!" Hee!

3. Rob, meet Karma. Karma meet Rob. While I still think they'll be the ultimate winners (which will bum me out slightly), I danced in my living room when his manipulation spurred the other teams on to a better flight.

4. Kelly? Hush, baby, before you make an even bigger silly of yourself.

5. Jerome the Gnome? Loved it!

6. I want the $20,000 in Travelocity bucks. Awesome prize. And it's enough so that Ron and Kelly can take separate vacations.

7. Why on earth do people in Istanbul WEIGH THEMSELVES ON THE STREETS?

8. Weren't you surprised by how little Uchenna and Joyce were ahead at the beginning of the leg? Shave your head and only be ahead by TWO MINUTES? Yikes.

9. Oh, dear. Next week everyone yelling at each other. Killer Fatigue is hitting big time.

this posting entitled Planned Parenthood Opposes Women's Right to Choose...an Ultrasound from the dawn patrol calling planned parent barrenhood on the carpet of their own mighty hypocrisy makes me giddy with delight. i take such great pleasure in seeing pp exposed for what it really is, which is offal.

A is for Assistance

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i've recently added a snippet or two to our fan site for our dear mr. luse of apologia fame. but, i need your help. i'd like to update his "adages" so if you have any favorite quotes from his site, please feel free to share them with us.

thank you,
fan mgt.

The thing you don't realize....

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.....before you have kids, is just how FUNNY they are. No one can ever get across the number of moments you will laugh out loud (or to yourself, if it would upset your kiddo) just being around them.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are a favorite snack around our house (as popular with the teen as with the McKid). The GoldFish Colors are running some tie-in with the Nickleodeon Kids' Choice Awards, whatever they are. So, instead of getting just colored goldfish in your package--and wouldn't that, really, be ENOUGH?--you now get colored "splat" crackers.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked into my office to see McKid with a giant pile of crackers spread over the top of my desk. She was oh so carefully separating out fish from "splats". I asked her, "What on EARTH are you doing?"

"Getting out all the crabs." (She doesn't get the whole "splat" idea. I'm not sure I do, either.)


"'Cause I only like the crabs. I don't like fish crackers."

Of course, I try logic (stupid me!): "Honey, they're all made out of the same stuff, they just LOOK different. They're just different SHAPES."


Well, alrighty then.....

Thanks a LOT Pepperidge Farm. Thanks a LOT.

The more I read, the more I like

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A snippet from a story on Yahoo News this morning:

"As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that, in a manner of speaking, the guillotine would fall on me, I started to feel quite dizzy," Benedict said in his native German at the audience, smiling and chuckling. "I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace.

"I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me. You have younger and better (candidates) who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and with different strength.'"

"Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me," Benedict joked.

He said that during the secret deliberations, a fellow cardinal had written him a note, reminding him of the sermon he delivered during the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II, in which he referred to a biblical passage where God tells the apostle Peter to follow him.

"My fellow brother wrote me: 'If the Lord should now tell you, 'Follow me,' then remember what you preached. Do not refuse. Be obedient. ...This touched my heart. The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good."

I am taping that last sentence on my refrigerator: The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.

Amen, Papa.

In fact, I ordered 3 - one for each of us. Want one? Go to the Ratzinger Fan Club's shop (link from their site), and get you one!
I think I'll be looking GOOD! Mmmmmm Hmmmmm!

Alrighty, then.....

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These are pigs competing in a (I'm not kidding here) Pig Olympics in Shanghai China on April 14, 2005. They are a special breed of pig from Thailand, and they are taught to race from shortly after birth.

Well, I suppose that's why the saying is "When pigs fly" instead of "When pigs swim."

Who knew?

Check out the new URL!!!

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Once, it was the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. Now, bigger, better, and more impressive than ever, it's

The Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club!

And check out their store, where you can get absolutely GROOVY hats with "Papist" on them. I want a t-shirt with that, but they only have sweatshirts. Bummer. Don't they know how hot it is down here in Texas?

I betcha I could sell 20 Papist t-shirts in 30 minutes at my parish.

PBXVI Fan Club, are you listening?

Obviously, not on the same pace as last year, when I read 49 books. But these two were good:

#13: The 27th Kingdom by Alice Thomas Ellis. This is a very quirky book. Maybe a fable, something of a fairy tale? It's the story of Aunt Irene, who lives in a tiny house in 1950's Chelsea with her evil nephew Kyril. Her sister, the Mother Superior of a order of nuns in Wales, sends her the West Indian postulant, Valentine. Valentine has manifested some miraculous gifts (most spectacularly levitation) and Mother thinks it would be best to get her out of the convent for awhile. The adventures that befall these three, and the others who are involved in their lives make it a tale of "good and evil, angels and demons." It was one of those books that I thought was OK while I was reading it, but has become more than that since then. Random thoughts and images keep returning to my head from the book. My second rating of it would be "better than OK." I would quote something to you from it, but I have passed the book along to another bibliofiend friend, so I can't. You'll just have to read it yourself if you're interested.

#14: Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly. This is part of the Loyola Classics Series. They are reissuing "classic Catholic novels", and have started with In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, Helena by Evelyn Waugh, and Mr. Blue. They have released Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? by John R. Powers this month, and then next month Saint Francis by Nikos Kazantzakis. General editor for the series? Amy Welborn!

Mr. Blue is the story of a young man, in 1920's New York and Boston, who has decided to live out the Christian life in a radical manner. He is a sort of St. Francis of Assisi for modern times--with a dedication to Lady Poverty and a commitment to live with and serve the poor.

The narrator is some sort of businessman--the counterpoint to Blue. He is fascinated by Blue, and even recognizes that much of what Blue says is true and worthy of imitation. But it makes him uncomfortable. After all, aren't we to plan for our futures, bank up some security, maximize our wealth???? The best thing about the book, to me, was this constant undercurrent between what we might feel drawn to and what we will allow ourselves to do. We are all drawn to sanctity, but we cover it up with layers of ordinariness and worry. Of course Blue is a nutcase. Isn't he? Isn't he? WE are the sane ones. Aren't we?

His eyes were glowing in the dark. He threw his hands up toward the stars: "My hands, my feet, my poor little brain, my eyes, my ears, all matter more than the whole sweep of these constellations!" he burst out. "God himself, the God to whom this whole universe-specked display is as nothing, God himself had hands like mine and feet like mine, and eyes, and brain, and ears! . . ." He looked at me intently. "Without Christ we would be little more than bacteria breeding on a pebble in space or glints of ideas in a whirling void of abstractions. Because of him, I can stand here out under this cold immensity and know that my infinitesimal pulse-beats and acts and thoughts are of more importance than this whole show of a universe. Only for him, I would be crushed beneath the weight of all these worlds. Only for him, I would tumble dazed into the gaping chasms of space and time. Only for him, I would be confounded before the awful fertility and intricacy of all life. Only for him, I would be the merest of animalcules crawling on the merest of motes in a frigid infinity." He turned away from me, turned toward the spread of night behind the parapet. "But behold," he said, his voice rising with exultancy, "behold! God wept and laughed and dined and wined and suffered and died even as you and I. Blah for the immensity of space! Blah for those who would have me a microcosm in the meaningless tangle of an endless evolution! I'm no microcosm. I, too, am a Son of God!"

That poetry contest....

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While I was eating breakfast this morning, I was reading Parade--it's a little magazine insert in the Sunday paper. In this issue, they had the winner of their fifth annual Parade Classroom Poetry Contest.

Oh, dear, I thought. Teen angst poetry. After the laughable winner of the America annual poetry contest (See Bill Luse's blog for info on that contest, and his response to it), I thought I would read more awful poetry.

But no! Much to my surprise, I was utterly charmed by the winning entry. I think the young poetess did a GREAT job. Her name is Jessica McKeon of Allegan, Michigan. And here's her entry:



Today he is Batman
His true identity concealed
via his jet-black cape still damp from
the dryer.

Today he duels evil
Racing against time
in his convertible top, two door plastic
Playschool car.

Today he breaks cryptic codes
Hacking into his Etch A Sketch and
disabling reactor buttons on his
mom's cell phone.

Today he saves Gotham City
One cruel-intentioned
peace-threatening plush toy at a time.

Tonight he departs to the Bat Cave
After a long day of portraying Batman
he closes his eyes and ponders what is
to come tomorrow

Tomorrow he is Captain Hook
and Barbie is walking the plank.



I say we take the $5,000 prize from the mouse poet and give it to her. This girl's got talent with a capital T.


forgive me, but i absolutely adore this picture of our sweet papa ratzi!
photo shamelessly lifted from cnytr.

Friday Feast!

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We haven't done this in a long time. What say we do it now?

Name something that helps you fall asleep.

Who brings out the best in you?

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Main Course
Complete this sentence: In our home, we never have enough...

Which shoe do you put on first?

I'll answer in the comments boxes with the rest of you.

Just a snippet

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......from the article Lauren referenced in the comments boxes about Ebay and consecrated hosts. Please note, Ebay only encouraged this seller to take down the host because they couldn't verify the bids, not because they had some change of heart:

The San Jose, Calif., company has defended the auctions, and officials say they have no plans to prohibit the sale of religious material.

"We understood it would offend some people, but it's a legitimate listing. If it were to be put up again, we'd let it stay there," said Hanzi Durzy, an EBay spokesman. "We didn't pull the listing because of what it was. We pulled it because bidding got into an outrageous price range with no bidder preapproval."

Current items prohibited on EBay include animals and wildlife products, drugs and drug paraphernalia, gift cards, lottery tickets and Nazi memorabilia.

Later on in the story, this same ebay rep acknowledged that if someone puts another listing of a consecrated host up, they will accept it.

I appreciate Elizabeth and Lauren's point of view on the issue. They are both women with the courage of their convictions and good words to say. You guys should read their comments, and take them to heart. On this issue, I happen to disagree. I think there are companies that put themselves in a position where I simply cannot any longer patronize them. It's not part of a national boycott of some sort, it's just where I stand. I don't expect Ebay to change its policies for me. On the other hand, I get to choose where I shop. And I always, ALWAYS tell the management why I will no longer shop some place. And I always, ALWAYS let them know what would win my business back. I've done it in retail stores, now I'm doing it on Ebay.

I have followed more or less closely the sale of relics on Ebay. No amount of protesting by those of us "in the community" made one iota of difference in that fight. The emails I got in response to my protests of sales of relics--however "veiled" in the "we're selling the reliquary and throwing in the relic for free" cr** item descriptions--were basically the same as the emails I have received when I protested the sale of the consecrated host (which I did prior to deciding to leave, BTW. I just didn't post those letters here). Basically the same brush off. "Too bad you're offended. Don't buy them, then." Being a "voice" in their "community" has made exactly ZERO difference.

And frankly, if I quit buying stuff from them, but still maintain my membership in the community so that I can protest? Won't work. Any organization that can track member usage can easily discount the protests of those who are not actively buying and selling stuff through their system. I know if it were ME, and I got a complaint from a person who purchased 3 things in 7 years, I'd feel that the risk of ignoring that complaint was relatively minimal. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they ought to listen to all complaints, but face it, the inactive accounts simply won't get the respect the big time buyers/sellers do. It's just the way it goes.

Perhaps I am very wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. If so, I bow to the greater wisdom of Elizabeth and Lauren. (And I don't mean that in a snarky way--really I don't!!!!!) But I don't want to do business with a company that presumes to make its commissions in part on the sale of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of my Lord. I just can't. And I will miss Ebay. It wasn't like GameStop to me. I liked it. A LOT. But I can't do it any more.

*in my smock opinion

looks like the green beanies are getting their knickers in a twist over the fact that regular folk aren't as freaked out about "earth day" as they are. see article here.

correct me if i'm wrong but there are other issues to be concerned about that are just as important, if not of more immediate concern, aren't there? say. . .national security? healthcare? employment? crime? education?

get this: The challenge goes beyond the environmental movement, said George Lakoff, a University of California, Berkeley linguistics professor who has written about how language colors political discourse. Lakoff argues that the entire public agenda has been seized by what he calls a "right-wing ideological political movement that's extremely powerful and well-funded."

a right-wing ideological political movement? now that's colorful language.

Consecrated hosts on Ebay....

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.....the latest auction of a concentrated host on Ebay has been removed, but NOT because it is offensive, only because they could not verify the outlandish bids that were being made on it. Read Philothea Rose's post on this HERE.

This is disgusting. I wrote an email protesting the first sale, and got back a letter saying, basically, "Too bad for you. If you don't like it, don't buy it." They have turned the body and blood of Christ into a religious "collectible." It is shameful.

I agree with Philothea on this one. I am not just "not shopping there" anymore. I am off to close my account. And my Paypal account as well.

UPDATE: Here's my note to Ebay, closing my account:

Given your recent decision not to ban the selling of consecrated hosts on your service, I feel that I have no option other than closing my account on Ebay. I will also be closing my account on Paypal.

This is a sad day for me. I have enjoyed shopping Ebay in the past, and have, in fact, bought lovely church vestments for good prices through your service.

But I cannot countenance the use of a service that allows the sale of the most precious and holy part of my religion with a callous "Well, if you don't like it you don't have to buy it attitude."

That is certainly correct. But I must do more than simply not shop you. I want nothing, NOTHING to do with you or your service again, unless and until you come to your senses and see that consecrated hosts should be among your list of banned items. When that day comes, I will happily reopen my Ebay and Paypal accounts. Until then, forget it.


A picture worth a 1000 words

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These are guys from the North American College in Rome, watching the announcement of the new pope.

This makes my heart sing!

The picture was stolen shamelessly from The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian.

our "papa ratzi"

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...is already drawing fire from "...Many rank-and-file American Catholics [emphasis mine -- what's an "American Catholic" anyway?] - as well as gay-rights advocates, womens-rights activists, and groups representing victims of abuse by priests - were disappointed at the selection of an unabashed conservative." according to this article entitled, Selection Greeted With Mixed Feelings in U.S.

really? you don't say. in america? hmmm....

''I would have preferred a more moderate choice,'' said Barbara Bowen, 56, a self-described ''lapsed Catholic'' [more smock emphasis] from New York... ''I was personally looking for someone who would approve the ordination of women [at this point, i simply cannot help myself] - that would be nice and progressive,'' Bowen said.

ahhhh, nice and progressive. i like that. isn't that sweet? that's what we need in today's happy go-lucky, wonderfully fluffy, feel-good and relative, gay, trouble-free world: a really nice and progressive pope.

bleh! i say, "sick 'em!"

From the Daily Dig:


The church must renounce worldly principles and standards in order to accept the truth, and the way it must go will always lead to some form of martyrdom. It is important for us to realize that we cannot bring about unity by diplomatic maneuvers. The result would be a diplomatic structure based on human principles. Instead, we must open ourselves more and more to God.

The unity that God brings about is the only true unity. Anything else is a political construction, and it will be as transitory as all such constructions are. This is the more difficult way, for in political maneuvering, people themselves are active and believe they can achieve something. But we must wait on God, and we must go to meet him by cleansing our hearts.

From? Guess who! Our new pope! Taken from a discussion with Bruderhof members in 1995, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, of course.

Celebration dinner tonight at our house....


.....in honor of our new pope. Tried an absolutely yummy new recipe out of my new favorite cookbook (The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book)--Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops. Had 'em with steamed green beans, side salads with grape tomatoes and mushrooms and hot whole wheat rolls. We were (can you believe it?) OUT OF WINE, so the toasting had to be done with ice water, but toasting was done.

Anyway, in a token nod to our mom-blog status, here's the recipe for the pork chops:

8 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 in thick (I just used regular bone in chops)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot or onion
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook port 4 minutes on one side; turn and cook 3 minutes on second side. Transfer pork to platter, keep warm.

2. Increase heat to high. Stir shallot (or onion) into pan juices; cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and sugar and cook 1 minutes longer. Pour sauce over pork. Makes 4 main dish servings.

(I cooked the onion a little longer than 1 minute, since I like my onions more browned.)

And Viva Il Papa!!!!!

The Amazing Race!

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Here's my take on tonight:

1. Joyce rocked. I would have let them shave my head, too, but I cried along with her when he started cutting. Dang! That's harsh. And then they didn't get a prize at the end?

2. Yay for the old people! But darn it, Gretchen, GET OUT OF THE ELEPHANT AND HELP PUSH!!!!!

3. Glad the gay guys didn't go for the lip lock. We were worried about that.

4. Rob and Amber, meh.

5. Did Kelly really say that in the preview for next week? Dumb, girlfriend, dumb.

6. Camel racing! Yay!

habemus papam!

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and there is no recount!

praise be to God!

God bless Pope Benedict XVI

viva il papa ratzi!

Heads up, ya'll.....

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Apparently our dearest Mr. Luse (over at Apologia, link to the right) has gone around the bend. In response to the absolutely stupid mouse poem that the weirdo publication America gave their $1,000 annual poetry prize to, he has decided to hold his own "Mouse Poetry Contest."

Please visit his site for the particulars. And remember to EMAIL your contest entry.

If the winner gets a kiss from the esteemed Mr. Luse, the Mamas MIGHT be interested in entering. Though we must admit, we're a lot better at kissing than poetry!

Happy Birthday, Zteen! Nineteen

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Happy Birthday, Zteen! Nineteen years ago today we got to meet you face to face, and the world has been a more exciting, fun and wonderful place ever since! Your dad and I are proud of the boy you were and the man you are becoming. God bless you, sweetie! We love you more than you can ever imagine.

A few updates to the blog

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If you visit us much, you may notice our new logo and catch phrase. Our dearest SpecialK is too overwhelmed with kids, hubby, life, et al to be a regular poster on the blog. We've tried to shame her into it for months now, but Smock and I have decided to relent and let her off the hook. So the Summas are diminished, but still here in the forms of Smock and MamaT. Anytime SpecialK has something to say, she will be welcomed here with open arms.

I've also spent some time on the blogroll to the right, cleaning it up, adding some new folks. If you see something that doesn't seem right, just let me know.

Please also look at the resources below the links section. MaryH (of Ever New) has done a WONDERFUL job compiling a HUGE page of Catholic blogs. Please use the link to the St. Blog's Parish Hall for an entry to an astounding array of things to read. Just don't blame US when you look up and it's four hours later and the laundry still needs to be done!

i was watching this video tribute to His Holiness when our two year old asked, "is that Jesus?"

...Many Christian schools, put off by the racy and suggestive cheers
taught at secular cheerleading camps, are opting instead for faith-based
camps and competitions. Unlike the short skirts and bare midriffs of
secular cheerleading, Christian camps have modest uniforms, cleaner music
and dancing, and a stronger focus on good sportsmanship.

The Georgia-based Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders works with 15,000 cheerleaders a year in camps and competitions, with a staff of 100 coaches. A North Carolina company, the Christian Cheerleaders of America, teaches
another 7,000 cheerleaders a year. The camps work just like secular ones, but
with Bible study and devotional time added in mornings and nights. Most
of the instructors are college cheerleaders who went to Christian
schools, and they are encouraged to talk about their faith.

okay, i got the most insulting "large family" comment hands down this week. what's even worse is the fact that i've known this man, in a working relationship -- he's our dogs' vet -- for ten years.
while bending over and checking chichi's ears, the vet mumbled, "so this makes how many kids?"
distracted by our wee gabby who was planning her escape from the exam room, i said, "um, this makes five and six."
he shot up and groaned, "six?"
i smiled, "that's right."
looking me straight in the eye, he shook his head and said, "i can't imagine why anyone would do that to themselves."
i was caught completely off guard. i wouldn't have expected his comment in a million years. i said, "what?" with enough shock in my voice that any halfwit would know i had just been insulted and he had about a nanosecond to make nice.
instead, he repeated himself verbatim.
"i guess we just love kids," i said -- still in a funk trying to decipher his rudeness.
thankfully, gabby had wondered down the hall so i just walked out of the room to go get her.
when i went back inside with gabby in tow, the doctor reported on chichi's condition and made small talk. i answered in monosyllables, making it clear i wasn't ready to chit-chat because i was still trying to wrap my brain around what had just taken place.
i was so afraid of what i might actaully say to the man, that i had to wait until i left his office before i called his office manager from my cellphone in the parking lot and asked that the doctor call me back before he left the office for the day.

by the time the vet finally called, i had already spoken with marc and simmered down. marc said that our vet was an unfortunate idiot and he suggested that i not get overly emotional when talking to him or it would defeat my argument. thanks, hon.
anyway, i had calmed down so i told the vet very calmly that after ten years of receiving really good service from him, i was considering finding a new veterinarian for our three dogs because his comment about my family size had been so disrespectful that he'd made it very uncomfortable for me to maintain a working relationship with him.
he apologized, saying he'd meant the comment as a joke. i stuck to my guns and said, "your demeanor said otherwise, but i want to give you the benefit of the doubt, dr. ___ ." he then started talking about how family size is a personal matter and he shouldn't have said anything, apologized again, and said he had no idea that his words could have been hurtful.

are people really this naive?

That Smart Elisabeth Elliot!

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One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.

Lord, help me to take your yoke on my shoulder, not a yoke of my own making. May I learn from You to be gentle and humblehearted. May I find that your load is light.

Just what I needed to read today! God is good to send me memos, isn't He?

My Ten Things List


....are in the comments box further down the page.

Where are yours?

Uh Oh....

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From my reading last night (In Conversation With God):

Do you know what is the first temptation the devil presents to someone who has begun to serve God better? asks the Cure d'Ars - It is human respect. What is our behaviour like when we are with our friends, at work, at a social gathering? Do we show our condition as sons and daughters of God with simplicity and daring?

and then further on in the reading:

In order to get over worrying about what people will say, we need to have a right intention, being more concerned about God's opinion than anyone else's. We also need strength to ignore small criticisms in a cheerful and imperturbable manner, and be ready to communicate the treasure which each disciple of the Lord has found. We need, too, to give good example, which is simply living coherently with the grace our Lord has placed in our hearts. It is one thing we will never regret. Even in the most difficult environments we can win souls for Christ if we really want to make those friends, colleagues and acquaintances of ours happy. Before wanting to make saints out of all those people we love, we must make them happy and joyful, for nothing better prepares a soul for grace than joy.


Ahem. Now there is something to think about. Make them joyful? There's a radical call for me. Too often I've been expecting THEM to make ME joyful--when I'm the one who really has the source of joy!

An interesting game

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Therese Z over at Exultet has an interesting take on the Ten Things You've Done game. (I couldn't play that one, 'cause I couldn't think of 10 things I have done that no one else had. Now as #1 on my list I could put "I have held Steven Riddle's hand." OK, so Julie D. could say that too, but give me a break here!)

Anyway, Therese Z. wants us to list the Ten Things We'd Like To Do Before We Die. And the caveat is, you can't say "cure cancer" unless you're really an oncologist working on it! Be realistic, and tell us your real Top Ten list.

I'll post in the comments box with the rest of you!

Hello, all!

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Got back home yesterday afternoon after a fun and refreshing couple of days shopping, eating and watching movies with my dearest SisterM. Both of our birthdays are in February, so we decided last year to not give one another gifts, but to take a weekend away for "girls time." It was a GREAT decision.

This year, we went over to Grapevine (not very far from home, but far enough to be "out of sight, out of mind"). We shopped the giant outlet mall (spending < $50 each for the whole weekend--woo hoo!), went to see THREE movies (Miss Congeniality 2, Hitch, and The Upside of Anger), all of which we liked, and drank enough diet Cokes to last until this time NEXT year. We stayed up late to talk and slept late (hey, past 7 IS late for us mommy types!) and ate yummy french fries, M&Ms and popcorn.

Now, it's back the the "real world"....... Sigh.....

Goodbye, Papa

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I was lucky enough to go to Rome on our parish pilgrimage during 2002. It was beyond fabulous, easily one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. There were hundreds of moments worth retelling, but I won't tell them here.

There is one moment, though, that burns brightly in memory, especially tonight.

Our days were full of busy-ness, but after a communal supper, we were free to do as we wished. Very often this meant that several of us "girls" would head over to a sidewalk cafe across St. Peter's Square for a quick cup of cappucino for those who were coffee addicts, and a glass of "Coca-Cola Light" (with please, please, please more than one ice cube in it!) for me. We would sit and sip and talk and laugh. When the cafe closed, we would head back to the convent for the night.

Walking across the dark St. Peter's Square, we stopped dead in our tracks. To think. We were standing there, us hicks from Texas, looking up at the lighted windows of the Pope's apartment! He was really there! We had seen him in the Wednesday papal audience, of course, but somehow that light burning in an apartment window made it so, so, I don't know, personal, I guess.

With tears in our eyes, the four of us stood on the cobblestones, holding hands. Then we did the true Texas thing. We stood there in the dark and hollered: WE LOVE YOU, PAPA!

We're not foolish enough to think he heard us. But we felt better for having said it.

Lots of people have lots of things to say about the pope. Some people are already talking about whether or not he will be John Paul the Great. Some have reservations. I'm not smart enough, or good enough, to know whether he is or isn't. I didn't expect perfection, which is impossible anyway. What I wanted was someone to show this convert how to be a Catholic. And how to be a bold and unafraid one. JPII did that for me.

And I'm glad I had a chance to tell him that I loved him, even if he never heard it.

Out of here until Sunday evening!


I'll be on a quick little trip with my SisterM--shopping, eating, watching movies 'til our eyes fall out. Be back Sunday--Ya'll behave until then!


Classic dyspepticism:

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Dale at Dyspeptic Mutterings (link to the right), has a classic entry, Fun Answers to Stock Questions about the Pope. His #3 question and answer are CLASSIC, and I've stolen them shamelessly from his blog. If you don't read Dale, YOU OUGHT TO!

3. "Don't you think the next Pope should 'get with the times?'"

Interesting question--let me answer it with another one: Do you think Pius XII should have "gotten with the times" from 1939-1944?

Go NOW and read:


....Bill Luse's entry on the Pope and Terri.

All those people speculating on whether the new pope, whoever he may be, will change the church's teachings on contraception, abortion, and the ordination of women. I heard it TWICE this morning on the way back from taking McKid to preschool.

It will only get worse from here.

It is kinda funny, though, when you tell people that you are GLAD the Church stands in contradiction to the modern world. I have had people shake their heads sadly and walk away from me. I'm sure they are thinking, "Poor, deluded, sheep-like woman." Anti-modernism is unfathomable.

Pray for us JPII, especially me, who is becoming more uncharitable by the moment.

12th book of 2005 finished:

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....The Inn at the Edge of the World by Alice Thomas Ellis.

Alice Thomas Ellis died just a month or so ago. I had never heard of her, or any of her books. So, on a trip to my favorite place, Half Price Books, I looked for some of her works, and came home with three. The Inn at the Edge of the World was the first one I tried.

Eric, an innkeeper at an inn in Scotland, decides to try to build traffic in his "hanging on by a thread" inn by advertising for people who want to forget Christmas and come someplace where they can just ignore the whole thing.

Five people reply and come: Harry, an older, retired military gentleman who has lost his wife and son, and who is busy writing a history of "Chinese" Gordon; Jessica, a semi famous actress and voice-over star; Ronald, a psychoanalyst who has been abandoned by his wife; Anita, a mid-level manager in a shop, who wants a more fulfilling life; and Jon, a bit part actor who is basically stalking Jessica. How the relationships between these people form and break down, and whether they can see any way out of their sad lives is the point of the book.

But there is more than that. The inn is at the edge of the world in a way different from just being physically remote. It is also a place where the reality of this world and the reality of another world brush against one another, and manage to mix together a little bit. The selkies--the seal people--are a presence. And the dead are much closer than folks imagine.

The story doesn't end in a conventional way. Most of the people go on with their lives, untouched and unchanged. More than that, UNABLE to change the things that have made them isolated and alone. Unwilling to look beyond, wrapped up in the desires and conventions of this life, they are unable to learn a different way and so break out of their ruts. Not a traditional happy ending to be sure. But it's not a traditional unhappy ending either.

The Amazing Race!

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Well, I will just say these few things:

1. I want to drive somewhere and see all those animals.
2. I do not want to milk a goat.
3. People need to learn how to READ THE CLUES!!!!!
4. Funniest line ever: "Big money. No Whammies. No Whammies."
5. The beauty queen needs to get a grip.
6. Funniest way to leave the show EVER!!!!!
7. Good for the old people. They don't race very well, but they are hanging in there! (Ha, ha! Take that you ageist Ray!)

i was considering a new bumper sticker for the smocktank:


That Saturday meeting

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If you read us much, you know that on Saturday, Smock and I drove to Dallas to meet Steven of Flos Carmeli and Julie of Happy Catholic fame. We were very nervous on the drive over, because we were afraid they would be disappointed with us "in real life."

It was WONDERFUL! We have long been in awe of Steven; we just think he is one of the smartest bloggers out there. In person, he is warm, charming, HUMBLE, and loving. (And he has the MOST beautiful son!) Julie is like we imagined: open, funny and smart! It wasn't like a first meeting at all. It was like a group of friends that met regularly. No awkwardness, no hesitation. Good food, good fellowship. Laughter, followed by tears.

God allowed us to be together when we heard that the Pope had died. I think that was Providence working. Steven was far from home and those he loved. I think God and our Blessed Mother let us be with him. The rest of us could have had the support of our families, but Steven was on a business trip, and would have been alone! How very good God was to let us be with him then!

There were tears, and prayers (never let it be said that St. Blogs folks are ashamed to pray in public). I'm sure the rest of the restaurant was wondering what was up with those four people in that booth. But it was a miracle.

So, for those of you who read Julie and Steven, read them now knowing that they are the most wonderful people in real life, too! And if you don't read them? Hey, what's up with you? :-)

Another comment about The Endless Knot


This one deserves publication because of its absolute generosity:

Hello, I am the owner of Tumblar House. Thank you for the review of The Endless Knot. I apologize for the defective copies. Our supply of books has recently been rebound, and I am willing to replace any defective copies we have sold. I would also like to mention that the second book of the series, The Darkness Did Not, suffers from no such defect. Thanks again.

Stephen Frankini

Now, that is standing by your product. Thank you Mr. Frankini! And while I will probably not send in my defective copy, it makes me more willing to purchase the next book in the series. What a nice man!

.......kind of fall through the cracks, and do not see the light of day as they should. Last week, in the midst of anxiety over the Pope and the death of Terri Schiavo, a couple of comments were made on the post where I reviewed William Biersach's book The Endless Knot. While I think my review was generally favorable, I was troubled by the underlying theme: the ONLY good Catholics are trad Catholics.

A nice Chris Bates responded to my review with a lengthy comment (and he left his full name and email address, good for him!), saying how much he appreciated Mr. Biersach's book, and highly recommending the second installment. He went on to comment as follows:

To the earlier criticism on this blog, that only Trads are good catholics. Indeed, this is quite true.

I find this absolutely amazing.

But it is certainly true, Chris, that I am not a good Catholic. I am not even a good person. I lack charity, wisdom and insight. And I thank you for the reminder.

......is the Pastoral Provision that allowed us former Episcopalians to come home, bringing some of our liturgy with us. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Sunday's most perfect hymn:

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.....given how we were suffering/rejoicing:

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!


Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!


The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!


He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!


Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!


Again, Cyberhymnal is the source for the music, if you don't know it.

One of yesterday's great hymns:


We walk by faith, and not by sight;
No gracious words we hear
From Him Who spake as man ne’er spake;
But we believe Him near.

We may not touch His hands and side,
Nor follow where He trod;
But in His promise we rejoice,
And cry, “My Lord and God!”

Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;
And may our faith abound,
To call on Thee when Thou art near,
And seek where Thou art found.

That, when our life of faith is done,
In realms of clearer light
We may behold Thee as Thou art,
With full and endless sight.

Go to Cyberhymnal if you need a refresher on the tune.

Our Pontiff signs his

Our Pontiff signs his final cross, and his spirit comes to rest. All we see is all our loss for Christ is a quiet guest.

Il Papa, may you find release,
from this, your hardest test,
and find in Heaven sweetest peace
and Christ, our quiet guest.

Dearest Pope, our earthly guide,
may you be doubly blessed
for suffering before you died
like Christ, our quiet guest.

------Rock Wren at Lofted Nest

it seems to me that His Holiness is ending his pontificate exactly as he began it, with the message "be not afraid." the first three words our precious Holy Father used to usher in his papacy were the words "be not afraid," echoing the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, "be not afraid, only believe." (st. mark 5:36)
john paul II has always stood as a beacon of light and hope, encouraging us to "be not afraid." now, as he passes from this life to the next, as he turns to Our Savior through Our Mother, his message to us is still one of light and hope. he reminds us that death is not something for believers to fear. how beautiful, how fitting, that our Holy Father should remind us until the very end that we should "be not afraid."

the dichotomy is painful

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i seem to be praying out of both sides of my mouth today. praying for many graces and much mercy for our precious holy father -- but i morph old testament, calling down fire and brimstone, when it comes to that bitter pill, michael schiavo. i hate to admit it, but let's face it, michael schiavo does not exactly encourage charity. Good Lord deliver us.

O most loving Father, who

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O most loving Father, who willest us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of thee, and to cast all our care on thee, who carest for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which thou hast manifested unto us in thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O heavenly Father, thou understandst all thy children; through thy gift of faith we bring our perplexities to the light of thy wisdom, and receive the blessed encouragement of thy sympathy, and a clearer knowledge of thy will. Glory be to thee for all thy gracious gifts. Amen.

Father, you know how much we love our sweet Papa, and our hearts are broken at the thought of his passing from us. He has truly been your servant in this world. We want him to stay with us. But we know that he is serenely accepting your will. May we also be granted that serenity and peace of being able to say with our whole hearts "not our will, but thine." We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.



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