August 2005 Archives

Out of the mouths of babes.....

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Several weeks ago, an elderly parishioner died. She was a lovely lady, and I am friends with her daughter. Since I am the Altar Guild Directress at our parish, it was my great honor to do the preparations for funeral mass.

McKid was staying with us for awhile, and she was going to have to attend the funeral with me. I thought it best to do a little explaining beforehand, in hopes of short-circuiting some of the queries that would arise during the funeral. And arise in a VERY LOUD VOICE. Those of you with three year olds know what I am talking about.

So we talked about my friend's mother and what had happened. We talked about where she was now--her body was in the casket, but her soul was headed toward Jesus. That we were sad, and she would see people cry, because we would miss Florence. But that we lived in hope that one day we would see her again. Nope, she's not coming here. We're going there.

And on, and on, and on.

Things went well at the funeral. After communion, we just had one little slip--the McKid hopped down from the Altar rail, took a look at the casket and piped up: "Is our dead lady in there?" Fortunately, smiles from the family--Florence was great-grandmother to about 27 kids, and would have understood.

I thought the case was closed, and all forgotten.

Last week McKid's mom called, laughing and laughing. "You made more of an impression than you knew! Somehow, someone dying came up in conversation, and here comes McKid, barrelling in: 'Our sweet lady died. She's with Jesus. When we die, we'll get our dead lady back.'"

Well, not exactly catechism material, but close.

[there are obviously very sincere catholic journalists out there. i'm referring to the very vocal ones that are obvious dissenters who claim to be the oxymoronic "moderate" or "progressive" catholics but who are in truth nothing more exiting than your everyday run-of-the-mill heretics.]

one has to be a true moron not to see that the Catholic Church is persecuted by the mainstream media. the irony of course is that so many mainstream journalists claim to be catholic. i sometimes wonder whether or not they embrace the title of the very church they so rabidly persecute just for cheap shock value. at least it seems twisted and, oh let's just be honest, perverse; but at worst, it's scandalous. truly scandalous.

Interesting article.....

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......about helicopter parents. This one is in the Boston paper, but there are others everywhere!

Since this is the age range I am currently dealing with, I find it interesting. Because Zteen is an only, PapaC and I have worried that we would be those "overinvolved" types--and we've worked hard to try to combat it. The fact is that Zteen will live at home during college, at least to begin with (at least until he can afford to do otherwise, or we win the lottery). So we're trying to figure out the boundaries for a kid who's nearly grown but still living at home.

Bless his heart, it's really not fair to him. If he were off at school, he'd have so much more freedom. I would worry about him, but I'd get used to it. Sort of.

But when he's living down the hall, I can't sleep if he's not at home. Why is that?

Have any of you dealt with this issue--kids at home going to college, learning to balance freedom with responsibility? How'd you handle it?

Two baptisms....

| church yesterday morning. I love it when that happens! One was for a family that turns out in full force for these things, so we had hosts of folks wandering around, boys kicking footballs outside, kids running in and out of the parish hall. I LOVED IT! I wish that whole huge extended family went to our church all the time.

I was talking to the young father, and told him how much I envied his large family. His response? "Well, we hire ourselves out for holidays. But there is a big embarrassment factor you have to be prepared for!" So cute.

Anyway, here's the baptismal hymn we used yesterday. I like it very much:

Jesus, Son of Blessed Mary,
once on earth a little child,
pattern fair of holy living,
gracious, loving, undefiled.

Though thy eager heart was yearning
heavy laden souls to free,
yet thou calledst little children
in their happiness to thee.

Thy bright kingdom still they enter
through this sacrament of grace;
in thy loving arms enfold them;
hands of blessing on them place.

From the power of sin delivered
may they learn to live for God,
guided by thy Holy Spirit,
nourished with the living word.

Grant that we, like little children,
free from pride and guile may be;
cheerful, trusting, safe, protected
by the Blessed Trinity.

Words by Charles E. Riley, 1884-1972. We sing it to the tune Shipston. The song doesn't appear in the Cyberhymnal, but here is another one to the same tune so that you can hear it if you want to!

....Why? Insomnia for one.

For two, I saw a beautiful gray flannel suit with a pink blouse underneath it. Made me think of fall. And even though it is still about 162 degrees around here, I thought it would be nice to think about crisp days and different clothes.

The hymns the bells play....

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I live across the street from a Catholic Church. No, not the parish I belong to. That would be too easy, now wouldn't it?

Anyway, they have a set of electronic bells in the bell tower, and every hour from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., the bells play a hymn. It took some getting used to when we first moved in. They seemed so loud then. Now there are hours and hours that pass without me even really paying them much mind, which is kind of a shame.

But the selection of hymns, while traditional, is not exclusively "Catholic." By that I mean that there are quite a few hymns that I don't think many cradle Catholics would know many of the words to. The only reason I know them is that my grandparents were Methodist and Southern Baptist. So I wondered today at 11 a.m. if most of the people listening to the bells knew these words:

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.


Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?


Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.


O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.


Words & Music: Will L. Thomp­son, in Spark­ling Gems, Nos. 1 and 2, by J. Cal­vin Bush­ey (Chi­ca­go, Ill­i­nois: Will L. Thomp­son & Com­pa­ny, 1880)

Cyberhymnal gives us this lovely nugget about the song:

When evan­gel­ist Dwight Moo­dy was on his death­bed, he told Thomp­son:

"Will, I would ra­ther have writ­ten “Soft­ly and Ten­der­ly Je­sus is Call­ing” than an­y­thing I have been able to do in my whole life."

If you don't know the tune, go here and you can learn it and sing along. It was one of my grandmother's favorites.

Books #38, #39 and #40 finished!


Two had been in process for awhile. One was my "fun reading" for this week of quiet.

#38, the fun book, was One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I read this because Julie D. at Happy Catholic says "read Janet Evanovich" every time I ask for book suggestions. So, finally I did! This is the first of the Stephanie Plum series of novels, featuring the aforementioned Ms. Plum as she becomes a bounty hunter and skip chaser for her cousin Vinny. What makes this book good is the sense of place that it has. It is so firmly grounded in New Jersey, you can practically smell it. And you can see the cast of characters developing: plucky heroine, mom who doesn't understand why she doesn't get a safer job ("They're looking for a shampoo girl down at the beauty salon. Maybe you should apply."), the long-suffering father, the crazy grandma (whose social life revolves around the viewings at the funeral homes).

In some ways it reminds me of John MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, or Robert Parker's Spencer novels--character is more important than plot. While I wasn't as sold on Stephanie Plum as I was on Travis or Spencer (yum!), I'll read more in the series. And I must admit, it made me laugh out loud more than once.

Book #39, The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesterton, was this month's reading group book. The novel was GKC's 2nd novel, and originally appeared in serial form in the newspaper. It is part fantasy, part theology, part allegory. It chronicles a fight between 2 Scotsmen--MacIan, who is Catholic, and Turnbull, who is an atheist. But they are notable because they are almost the last people in the world who think truth is worth fighting over. Through the novel they run into the justice system, the media, followers of Eastern religions, Lucifer himself, people who help, people who hinder.

As in all of GKC's writings, there are paradoxes, puns and sentences that beg to be underlined or written down in a book of quotations. The woman (and her father) that Turnbull meets and (I think) falls in love with are described thus:

Both the father and the daughter were of the sort that would normally have avoided all observation; that is, all observation in that extraordinary modern world which calls out everything except strength. Both of them had strength below the surface; they were like quiet peasants owning enormous and unquarried mines. The father with his square face and grey side whiskers, the daughter with her square face and golden fringe of hair, were both stronger than they knew; stronger than any one knew. The father believed in civilisation, in the storied tower we have erected to affront nature; that is, the father believed in Man. The daughter believed in God; and was even stronger. They neither of them believed in themselves; for that is a decadent weakness.

Good book. Glad I read it.

#40, God and the World by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now, of course, our dearest PBXVI) was my long term spiritual reading type book, which I finished today after several weeks of reading. It is a book length transcript of a three day interview with journalist Peter Seewald (who also did Salt of the Earth, which I have just gotten in). This is a great book for reading a little at a time. It's question and answer format makes it easy to read and think, read and think.

I could give you a million excerpts from the book, but I'll tempt you with just this:

The attitude of kneeling ought never to be allowed to disappear from the Church. It is the most impressive physical expression of Christian piety, by which, on one hand, we remain upright, looking out, gazing upon him, but, on the other, we nonetheless bow down.

And then again, this:

Being able to preach is a gift, a special grace, and Saint Augustine always had great respect for the simple pastors who need a book in order to work out what to say in a sermon. He said: It is not originality that is important, but humble service. If another person's book helps someone to preach the Word to men, that's very good. We will be thankful when God raises up a great preacher, but we should also learn to be humble enough to listen to a lesser preacher.

Recently a parish priest in a large German city told me that he had come to his vocation by the particular agency of a priest who was actually bereft of all exterior gifts. He was a hopeless preacher, a dreadful singer, and so on, and yet under his care the parish really blossomed. In the end four or five priestly vocations were awakened in this city parish, something that happened neither under his predecessor nor under his successor, both of whom were far more capable. We can see here how the humble witness of someone who does not have the gift of persuasive speech can itself become a sermon, and how we should thank God for the variety of gifts.

I have several other Papa Ratzi books in the wings. Don't know which I'll start next.

Friday Feast, ya'll

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There was no new one posted for this week, so I took the one from this week last year:

What is a word that your family uses that would not be considered common?

What theme of calendar do you have on your wall this year?

Name 3 people you speak with on a daily basis.

Main Course
If you could put a new tattoo on someone you know - who would it be, what would the tattoo be of, and where would you put it on them?

What is the last beverage you drank out of a glass bottle?

Again, I'm first in the comments box!

A cool website

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Colour Lovers

This website has beautiful colors on it--with the related code numbers so you can pick out lovely colors for your website or blog. The part I like best is the "palette" section, where you can pick a group of colors that work well together.

For those of us who are design challenged, this is a good resource.


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and lots of it. nuthin' but noise in a house with six kids. i look forward to quiet and try hard not to envy it.

it dawned on me this morning that there are lots of working moms out there who would give their eyeteeth to be able to stay home in bed with their babies all day. but i tell you, when the bills, dishes, laundry and the to-do list all pile up around you while you're confined to the bed with your babies all day because as soon as one is asleep the other wakes or as soon as both are asleep your two year old leaps onto the bed, somersaults, and yells TADA!, waking both babies so that it's back to the breast time, it can rouse a very heavy sigh.


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McKid went back to preschool on Monday. She is going back to the same place she went last year, but with a difference: Last year she went on MWF, this year we made the decision to put her in 5 days a week.

That was a difficult decision. Three seems young (to me) to be in 5 day a week preschool. But McKid's mom and I decided to do it for several reasons. #1, she asked to go to school every single day last year. She was disappointed on Tuesday/Thursdays when she had to stay with MamaT. Oh, she got over it; but she was only mollified by me telling her she would get to go "tomorrow." #2, McKid is a high-energy, high-need child. She is all that and a shot of whipped cream with a cherry! The structure that this wonderful place has established keeps her moving right along all day--which suits her personality. And big #3, we can move her back down to 3 days a week if it doesn't work out.

So, McKid is now at preschool from 8:45 to 2:45 every day. After a noisy summer of dogs barking, videos playing, kid feet pounding the wooden floors of my house, there is quiet.

And a quiet made even more noticeable because for long stretches of that time, Zteen is at work.

I'm wandering around the house by myself! I'm listening to the music I choose. And I'm not listening to "Dorofy" (The Wizard of Oz) for the 100th time!

And I'm taking most of this week to luxuriate in the quiet. I even told PapaC that I was going to just laze around a bit--read all I want, crochet on some afghans, snooze on the couch. Next week will be time enough to fill up the days with all the things I have to do. There'll be time to work on my parish accounting stuff, and actually maybe get caught up! There'll be time to clean out my closets, a chore long overdue. There'll be time to visit more with my mom. There may even be time to volunteer as a reader in a classroom at our friend BoyC's school--a low income school that could use a few more volunteers. Who knows?

But this week? I'm listening to the sounds of silence.

From WYD


“People tend to exclaim: ‘This cannot be what life is about!’ Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion,” the Pope noted. He did not mention any religion and said he did not want to discredit any particular one, but he warned against turning religion into a consumer product.

“People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a “do-it-yourself” basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves,” he told the attentive crowd. “Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ!”

-------------Pope Benedict XVI @ World Youth Day

momma should not wear stripes

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but here is the latest pic of the smocktwins.

there's nothing sweeter

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than warm baby head smell. moms, you know what i mean. dads, you might as well. but according to studies done in england, 8 out of 10 moms, while blindfolded, can identify their own baby by just smelling the tops of their heads while only 3 dads can do the same.

One of today's hymns....

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.....reminded me of the Vaction Bible Schools of my youth. The theme hymns for those VBS days in the Episcopal church I grew up in rotated between this one, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.

It was hard for me not to march my feet in the pew as we did when we were children when we sang the chorus:

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!


Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.


Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.


Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.



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It's the little things that are sometimes hard. And the little things that catch you unawares and squeeze your heart.

Every couple of years, we do a census at our parish--to clean up the membership listing, check on new addresses, find out who has moved on and who has moved in. This weekend and next are the census weekends, and PapaC and the KofC are helping with the forms.

So, what's the big deal about that?

Just that today, for the first time ever, PapaC and I filled out our card listing just ourselves. Zteen is now old enough to be considered his own "entity" and fill out his own card.

That seems like such a small thing. So why did I cry all the way home from church?



“True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love.”

-------------Pope Benedict XVI, at World Youth Day 2005

Friday Feast, ya'll!

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Do you get excited when the season begins to change? Which season do you most look forward to?

What day of the week is usually your busiest?

Would you consider yourself to be strict when it comes to grammar and spelling? What's an example of the worst error you've seen?

Main Course
Who has a birthday coming up, and what will you give them as a gift?

If you could have any new piece of clothing for free, what would you pick?

I'm first in the comments box!

Book #37 of 2005 finished

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....and it took forever. Book #37 was An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.

It's not that it's not an interesting book, it's just that it is so densely packed with info, characters, history and biases that you have to keep thinking "Now, M was who?"

The story takes place in 1663 in England. A teacher (and a pretty unloveable guy) at Oxford is murdered. Who is guilty? The story is told as four manuscripts written by four different people involved in the story in different ways. Each of them fingers a different person as the murderer, and posits a different reason why.

And in that sense it is a fascinating book--seeing how the assumptions each of the "authors" colored how they interpreted actions that each of them saw. And it is a chilling look at doing "what must be done" to "keep the peace" regardless of what it costs in innocent human lives.

That said, though, I wouldn't say that this was a book that I particularly enjoyed. I could see the author's skill, which I thought was pretty awesome, but the book itself left me cold. Great technically, just not a rewarding enough read.

By the way, that's not the take of most of the reviewers on Most of them were far more positive about the book than I. If you've heard about it, you might want to read something more than my lukewarm response.



The duties and cares of the day crowd about us when we awake each day - if they have not already dispelled our night's rest. How can everything be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How will it all be accomplished? Thus agitated, we are tempted to run and rush. And so we must take the reins in hand and remind ourselves, "Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God. Tackle the day's work that he charges you with, and he will give you the power to accomplish it."

-----------Edith Stein, courtesy of the Daily Dig

Check this out!


Wendy Shalit's new website: Modesty Zone. Subtitle? For good girls in hiding, everywhere. Love it!

See especially the "Bad Advice" section and get your quota of head bangs on the desk for the day.

Mark your calendars!

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Amazing Race 8

September 27th

Meet the families here.

Never a pause, O Christ, in your persistent questioning, "Who do you say that I am?"

You are the one who loves me into endless life.

You open up the way of risk. You go ahead of me along the way of holiness, where happy are they who die of love, where the ultimate response is martyrdom.

Day by day you transfigure the "no" in me into "Yes". You ask me, not for a few scraps, but for the whole of my existence. You are the one who prays in me by day and night. My stammerings are prayer: simply calling you by your name, Jesus, fills our communion to the full.

You are the one who, every morning, slips on my finger the ring of the prodigal son, the ring of festival.

So why have I wavered so long? You have been seeking me unwearyingly. Why did I hesitate once again, asking for time to deal with my own affairs? Once I had set my hand to the plough, why did I look back? Without realizing it, I was making myself unfit to follow you.

Yet, though I had never seen you, I loved you.

You kept on saying: Live the little bit of the gospel you have grasped. Proclaim my life. Light fire on the earth . . . You, follow me....

Until one day I understood: you were asking me to commit myself to the point of no return.

-----Roger Schutz, founder of Taize, in Parable of Community

Brother Roger, rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon you.

I have spent the morning paying our "2nd half" (of the month) bills and updating our monthly budget. I am doing this on a square of desk that is approximately 18 inches by 18 inches. Why such a tiny desk? The desk ISN'T that tiny. It's just that a host of things, from file folders to princess watches, has migrated to the flat surface of my desk, and I am busy pretending (?) that I am far too busy to actually clean off my desk before I begin working at it.

So here I sit, with teetering piles of stuff stacked up all around me; stress level escalating by the moment.

I have always wanted to be one of those clean desk people. You know, who every night before they head home (or to bed, in my case) have a perfectly straight desk. The kind that takes out one project at a time to work on, puts it away, gets out another, etc. I really do think I'd be more productive that way.

And what I think is that multitasking doesn't work.

But this desk? It's fallen prey to the forces that infest every flat surface in my house: Horizontal Magnetization. No matter how I struggle, my flat surfaces become immediately stacked up with stuff.

Couldn't possibly be me doing it. I think it's simply an unknown force of the universe.

I think I should get a Nobel Prize for its discovery.

Then with the proceeds, I could hire a maid.

The Assumption of Mary


Her Virgin eyes saw God incarnate born,
when she to Bethl'em came that happy morn;
How high her raptures then began to swell,
none but her own omniscient Son can tell.

As Eve when she her fontal sin reviewed,
wept for herself and all she should include,
blest Mary with man's Savor in embrace
joyed for herself and for all human race.

All saints are by her Son's dear influence blessed,
she kept the very fountain at her breast;
the Son adored and nursed by the sweet Maid
a thousandfold of love for love repaid.

Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced,
next to his throne her Son his Mother placed;
and here below, now she's of heaven possessed,
all generations are to call her blessed.

Words: Thomas Ken
Tune: Farley (10 10 10 10)

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,
virgin mother undefiled;
sing of God's own Son most holy,
who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother,
God the Lord who came to earth,
Word made flesh, our very brother,
takes our nature by his birth.

Sing of Jesus, son of Mary,
in the home at Nazareth,
toil and labor cannot weary
love enduring unto death.
Constant was the love he gave her,
though he went forth from her side,
forth to preach, and heal, and suffer
till on Calvary he died.

Sing of Mary, sing of Jesus,
holy Mother's holier Son.
From his throne in heaven he sees us,
thither calls us every one,
where he welcomes home his Mother
to a place at his right hand,
there his faithful servants gather,
there the crown d victors stand.

Joyful Mother, full of gladness,
in thine arms thy Lord was borne.
Mournful Mother, full of sadness,
all thy heart with pain was torn.
Glorious Mother, now rewarded
with a crown at Jesus' hand,
age to age thy name recorded
shall be blessed in every land.

Glory be to God the Father;
glory be to God the Son;
glory be to God the Spirit;
glory to the Three in One.
From the heart of blessed Mary,
from all saints the song ascends,
and the Church the strain reechoes
unto earth's remotest ends.

Words: Roland Ford Palmer, 1914
Tune: Pleading Savior

Hail, holy Queen enthroned above,
O Maria.
Hail, Queen of mercy and of love,
O Maria.
Triumph, all ye cherubim,
sing with us, ye seraphim,
heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

The cause of joy to men below,
O Maria.
The spring through which all graces flow,
O Maria.
Angels, all your praises bring,
earth and heaven, with us sing,
all creation echoing:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

Words: Latin, eleventh century;
trans. Roman Hymnal, 1884
Music: Salve regina coelitum

Zteen had never watched this, so....

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.....tonight we watched:


Thoroughly enjoyable popcorn movie. It is a movie that made me a fan of Johnny Depp--I think his Captain Jack Sparrow is a fabulous creation. And so many wonderful quotes. Here's one of our favorites:

Jack Sparrow: [after Will draws his sword] Put it away, son. It's not worth you getting beat again.

Will Turner: You didn't beat me. You ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair fight, I'd kill you.

Jack Sparrow: That's not much incentive for me to fight fair, then, is it?

OK, so here's the thing

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Zteen got a job! Woo hoo!

He is working the Starbucks kiosk in the grocery store not far from our house. But first he has to be trained at another store. So this upcoming week, he is working openings, beginning tomorrow.

And openings begin at 5:30 A.M.

Yep, that means he'll have to be up at 4:30 A.M.

And this is my lovely son who has a t-shirt that says:
"Good Morning is an Oxymoron."

Poetic justice, I'd call it.

Finally someone will be up earlier than even the morning person in our family (that would be ME).

Tee Hee!

A lovely little nugget of wisdom

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"To work is to pray." The well regulated life does not defer prayer until work has been accomplished; it turns the work itself into a prayer. We accomplish this when we turn to God at the beginning and completion of each task and mentally offer it up for love of Him. Then, whether we are nursing a child or making carburetors, turning a lathe or running an elevator, the task is sanctified. No amount of piety in leisure hours can compensate for slipshod labor on the job. Any honest task, well done, can be turned into a prayer.

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
Way to Happiness

Friday Feast, ya'll

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Did you sleep well last night?

What is your current computer desktop image?

When was the last time you planted something, what was it and where did it go?

Main Course
What's your favorite condiment?

Share a quote that you like, for whatever reason.

I'll share in the comment box with the rest of you!

.....when it's not making my kitchen too hot to cook it:

Adobo-Style Chili

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Warm corn tortillas (optional)

1. Pat pork dry with paper towels. In a nonreactive 5 quart Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add half of pork and cook until browned, using slotted spoon to transfer meat to bowl as it is browned. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining pork.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, grond red pepper, and cloves; cook 1 minute. Return pork to Dutch oven. Add tomatoes with their juice, vinegar, salt, oregano, and bay leaf. Heat to boiling over high heat, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat; cover nd simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 hours.

3. Discard bay leaf. Skim and discard fat. Sprinkle pork with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas, if you like. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

All Thumbs Up at MamaT's house for this one.

Yummy for supper!


We were faced with the same old, same old. You know. Meat on the grill, veggies on the side.

Well, to spark up your pork chops a little, make some of this rub and scrub it onto them before they hit the grill:

1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil. And I used a little bit more than called for, just to get good pasty consistency.)

This is enough for a 1 lb tenderloin. I tripled it to cover nearly 3 lbs of the skinny pork chops (a lot of surface area, you know). It was delish! These pork chops with steamed green beans and fresh corn on the cob. Outstanding!

And, of course, it came from my fave of all fave cookbooks: The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

Good one!


We cannot love God unless we love each other. We know him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet, and life is a banquet too - even with a crust - where there is companionship. We have all known loneliness, and we have learned that the only solution is love, and that love comes with community.

Dorothy Day
(courtesy of the Daily Dig)


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Haven't written anything lately worthy of mentioning in TSO's Spanning the Globe weekly feature.

So I just thought I'd see if I could get in by trickery:

Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe, Spanning the Globe...............

My Fave


....from the annual Bulwer Lytton contest for bad opening sentences:

Detective Fiction category:

Patricia wrote out the phrase 'It was a dark and stormy night' exactly seventy-two times, which was the same number of times she stabbed her now quickly-rotting husband, and the same number of pages she ripped out of 'He's Just Not That Into You' by Greg Behrendt to scatter around the room -- not because she was obsessive compulsive, or had any sentimental attachment to the number seventy-two, but because she'd always wanted to give those quacks at CSI a hard time.

Kari A. Stiller
College Station, TX

(And it was a Texas gal to boot! Yee Haw!)

Oh, that McKid!

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You know that you always have to worry more about toddlers when you AREN'T hearing them.

Yesterday morning, I had 3 phone calls right in a row. And it got awfully quiet.

Hung up the phone, started looking through the house.

The door to my bedroom is closed. That's a bad sign. Last time that happened, I opened it to find that McKid had used my Tiffany perfume as air freshener.

And one dog is missing.

Uh Oh.

Opened the door, fearing the worst. There is the McKid, using my hairbrush to brush the dog. MaggieDog looks at me with the most pitiful eyes: "Save me, save me. Please save me."

Because around her neck is a beautiful shell necklace. And in the fur along her back a collection of lovely barrettes. Sparkle flower barrettes.

"McKid, what on earth are you doing?"

"Mama! We're playing Dog Show!"

And MaggieDog takes that opportunity to make a dash for it, sprinkling barrettes in her wake.

Can't say I blame her.

I must say this up front. I hate to iron.

On top of that, I'm not terribly good at it. Oh, I get better with practice, but who wants to practice THAT?!?!

Well, me. At least for now.

PapaC and I had a financial meeting last weekend. I suppose it was what we'd call around here a "Come to Jesus" meeting. 'Cause it was time to face the truth and the hard, hard facts.

Basically, the upshot was that to achieve our financial goals, which include paying for Zteen's tuition and books for college (staring us in the face, coming to a pocketbook near you in January), maintaining our tithe, and getting debt free except for the house, we are on what we like to call the MamaT and PapaC Pretend Like You're Living During the Depression and Don't Spend Any Money Plan.

I don't think that title will help us sell any books or websites or newsletters, do you?

So, what does that have to do with ironing?

It means in the quest to shave every dime off our living expenses that we can--so that we can spend those dimes where they are truly important--we aren't taking PapaC's shirts to the cleaners to have them laundered.

Of course, Smock chimed in with a place to take PapaC's shirts that isn't terribly expensive. And believe me, if I were in Smock's shoes, chasing 6 kids around the house, ironing PapaC's shirts would be a foolish frugality--not worth the money it saved.

But I'm not. I have a nearly grown kid (who even does his own laundry), and one toddler who will be in preschool 5 days a week in a couple of weeks. I have time to iron a little.

But more than that, I am using it to remind myself of our goals--a sacrifice made concrete. And hot. And sweaty.

Is $6 a week in laundry money gonna make the difference in our budget? Nope. But maybe it'll make a difference in my HEAD. And maybe it'll make a difference in my heart. Where I can use a repetitive activity to express my love for my dearest PapaC and my commitment to our future.

One hot shirt at a time.

the mommy disconnect

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it's funny but whenever we have a new baby in the house i typically place myself on what i call "house arrest" for the first few months. not only is it important to the bonding process twixt mommy, family and babes, it's practical because it's a real challenge to get all the wee ones ready for outings. but for some reason, this time around things are a little different. i'm feeling a disconnect from the outside world, even friends, and it's not all that pleasant. of course, sacrifice never is.

i want to chalk it up to feeling a tad overwhelmed and most certainly sleep deprived, but i'm not sure that it's that simple. maybe having twins makes the difference? i don't know. but for the first time ever, i'm feeling really disconnected. disconnected, not withdrawn. therein lies the rub, as they say. in the past (if memory serves) it's always been a deliberate withdrawal to enjoy the babes, learn a new routine. but now, now it's different, almost funky. don't get me wrong, i wouldn't change a thing about every precious moment spent with the wee ones (except perhaps the three AM feeding), but now i'm learning the true meaning of the phrase "there just aren't enough hours in the day."

i guess i've been spoiled in the past because things seemed easier to prioritize and manage -- or! perhaps i just remember them that way. maybe i've forgotten the struggle like we "forget" the pains of birth. maybe i've been down this road before but time has blurred the map. i know i do more than i should on some days, but not enough on others. where is the balance? how to make time for duties, family and friends so that i don't feel so disconnected is the challenge. and no matter how well i prioritize, there will always be dirty laundry and dishes. fie! damnable chores!

it's my mother's fault. no, not really but who else gets the blame? it's going to be one mother or another, don't you know. actually my mother does see things in, well i don't know what you'd call it but it conjures up hefty feelings of guilt. for example, if i'm taking care of one baby the other is being deprived. if i'm loving on one child, another is being ignored. change this one's diaper, the other somehow suffers. sorry, i just don't think that way. then again, here lately, her voice in the back of my head keeps gnawing, "what about them? him? her? fill-in-the-blank?" if i'm writing this blog, someone somewhere is being ignored. if i take a shower, it's inevitable that someone needs me to get gum out of her hair. if i lock myself in the bathroom to talk to friend, someone needs me to get a sandwich out of the VCR or to look up the twin's social security numbers. oh, let's face it, being a wife and mother means that someone somewhere is always going to need something from you. that's why it's a vocation, not a vacation. at least, that's what i keep telling myself. along with my latest mantra, this too shall pass.

why am i afraid to sit down and read a few blogs, call a friend, sit down and watch the amazing race? why is it that any little thing i do outside of duty ends up being a declaration? i will call her today if it's the last thing i do! i am going to sit down and read ten pages of this book! i will take this nasty toenail polish off this week!

i guess the bottom line is that i just want to be able to shave my legs without feeling guilty.

Friday Feast, ya'll!

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Briefly describe your living room.

List 3 things you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2005.

When you're online, what do you spend the most time reading/playing/doing? Suggest a site for us to visit.

Main Course
What would the title of your autobiography be?

What time do you usually go to bed?

I'll answer in the comments with ya'll!

You know how it is with toddlers. One movie will captivate their minds and hearts and its that movie or nothing on the DVD. We've had marathons of Bambi ("That deer movie, mama"), The Wizard of Oz ("I want Dorofy!"), and Snow White ("Little guys! The one with little guys!").

Now we're on a kick of:


Mary Poppins!

I had forgotten how much I liked this movie. It was one of my favorites as a kid, and a friend's mother made me a Mary Poppins doll, complete with carpetbag and umbrella. I wish I still had it.

When people talk about dance in movies, they always "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "An American in Paris". But I'll put Dick Van Dyke and the dancing chimneysweeps up against those any old day.

Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim cher-ee! A sweep is as lucky As lucky can be

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when
I shake 'ands with you
Or blow me a kiss
And that's lucky too

Now as the ladder of life
'As been strung
You may think a sweep's
On the bottommost rung

Though I spends me time
In the ashes and soot
In this 'ole wide world
There's no 'appier bloke

Up where the smoke is
All billered and curled
'Tween pavement and stars
Is the chimney sweep world

When the's 'ardly no day
Nor 'ardly no night
There's things 'alf in shadow
And 'alf way in light
On the roof tops of London
Coo, what a sight!

I choose me bristles with pride
Yes, I do
A broom for the shaft
And a broom for the flume

Though I'm covered with soot
From me 'ead to me toes
A sweep knows 'e's welcome
Wherever 'e goes

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
When you're with a sweep
You're in glad company

No where is there
A more 'appier crew
Than them wot sings
"Chim chim cher-ee
Chim cher-oo!"
On the chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee
Chim cher-oo!

Check this out

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SpecialK's son, Josh, has started a new blog. I love the title, because I can remember those years and how it felt. He has some wonderful pictures up.

If you have a teenager who blogs, please send them by Josh's place. He's looking for a nice blogring or something to belong to.

Check him out here: Academically Crazed.

A surprisingly lovely hymn...

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Went to a funeral on Tuesday for a dear elderly lady from our church (and SpecialK's grandmother-in-law). One of her only requests was that a hymn sung to the same tune as "Danny Boy" be used at her funeral. That had Fr A in a bit of a quandry--he could get the music, but couldn't find words! He finally succeeded in finding these, and it was very moving and lovely:

O Christ the same through all our story's pages,
Our loves and hope, our failures and our fears;
Eternal Lord, the King of all the ages,
Unchanging still, amid the passing years:
O living Word, the source of all creation,
Who spread the skies, and set the stars ablaze,
O Christ the same, who wrought man's whole salvation,
We bring our thanks for all our yesterdays.

O Christ the same, the friend of sinners, sharing
Our inmost thoughs, the secrets none can hide,
Still as of old upon your body bearing
The marks of love, in triumph glorified:
O Son of Man, who stooped for us from heaven,
O Prince of life, in all your saving power,
O Christ the same, to whom our hearts are given,
We bring our thanks for this the present hour.

O Christ the same, secure within whose keeping
Our lives and loves, our days and years remain,
Our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping,
Our calm and storm, our pleasure and our pain:
O Lord of love, for all our joys and sorrows,
For all our hopes, when earth shall fade and flee,
O Christ the same, for all our brief tomorrows,
We bring our thanks for all that is to be.

-----Timothy Dudley-Smith b.1926

Reading update, three more to add!

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#34: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

I'm not going to give you the summary of this here, because I figure that everyone BUT ME has already read this. What I want to know is, what was I reading when every single person I've talked to was reading Ray Bradbury???

#35: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.

I know that some of you who read the blog do not read Harry Potter books, and that's fine by me. Please realize that I have read a lot of opinions about them, both pro and con, and have come to an informed decision to read them. If you want to read something about why, you might check out Steven Riddle's post over at Flos Carmeli (link to the right) about what he thinks of them, and this article from First Things. If you'd like to discuss it with me, please do so via e-mail, not via comments. I have no objection to discussion, but at this point, I think it's pretty much been done to death on the blogs. So, if you wanna talk about whether or not the books should be read, then let's email, OK?

Anyway, as to the book, much the poorest of the lot, in my opinion. The entire book was a set up for book number seven, and not enough happens until the last 1/4 of the book. As always, Rowling's characters are cardboard. These books are all about the narrative drive. And when that falls short, there's just not much there there.

A few good moments: Fleur's reaction to Bill's injury: priceless. Dumbledore's visit to the Dursley's: I wish I had his presence of mind to keep on pleasantly in the face of rudeness.

If you're a Harry Potter reader, what I'd suggest is waiting until book 7 comes out and reading 6 & 7 in tandem as one long book. That would probably be more satisfying.

#36: Belly of the Beast by Judith L. Pearson.

A nonfiction account of the WW2 experiences of a medical corpsman Estel Myers. He was taken prisoner in the Phillipines in 1941 and suffered unimaginable hardship for more than 3 years in a Phillipine POW camp before being herded onto a "death ship" headed to Japan. 1600 men started the journey, almost 1300 perished before reaching Japan. Through it all, he remained a decent, hardworking man who just decided he wouldn't die. A mind-numbing account of how inhumane man can be to man.

Wow, seems like I've read a lot lately. Well, that's coming to a screeching halt, at least in numbers. I started An Instance at the Finger Post this week. This is gonna take me awhile.

Each life has its own calling. It has its own code and its own path. None is just an imitation, stamped-out along with a mass of other identical ones. And each one requires the creative courage to live one's own life, and not just to turn oneself into a copy of someone else.

If you look at the parable of the lazy servant, who buried his talent so that nothing could happen to it, that expresses what I am trying to say. Here is someone who will not take the risk of living his life in its proper originality and letting it develop; or of exposing it to the dangers that necessarily arise with that.

In this sense there are a multitude of callings. I said in our book The Salt of the Earth that there are just as many ways to God as there are people. In this case we would have to add: There are just as many ways of living a successful life as there are people.

-------God and the World by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

I like this idea very much, though it also frightens me somewhat. It means that there is a plan for ME in the mind of God. Me in my own littleness and nothingness. That in the midst of a multitude of people there is something that I am supposed to be doing. Whether big or small, a job just for me. And then the question is, am I brave enough to take hold of it and do it. Or will I remain stuck in the "what every one else thinks is important" framework.

That's what the saints did. They embraced their paths, regardless of what the world thought. I wish that I could care less about what the world thinks and more about what Jesus thinks of me.

totally coolmoe, huh? apparently august 1-7 is world breastfeeding week, and why not, heaven knows nursing mothers need to be celebrated.

for those who asked, here is a link to the "Nurse-Ez Twin Nursing Pillow" i'm using to nurse the twins. remember, a friend bought it for me when i had gabby because it is so much more comfy than regular nursing pillows. now that we have twins, it really comes in handy, but i recommend it for moms of single babes.

by the way, feel free to browse the lactation connection site. i met the owner, tanya, ten years ago and think she's a pretty neat lady. she's also local business, which it's important to support.



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