October 2005 Archives

Tag, we're it!

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Kelly, from over at that wonderful blog The Pew Lady (link to the right), wants to know how we came up with the title of our blog.

Well, obviously we wanted to come up with something Catholic. And when we started there were three of us. So we messed around with a bunch of different names.

SpecialK, who is no longer a regular blogger here (darn it!), came up with "Let's do Summa something......"

Since the Summa Theologica is the summation of all things theological, we thought that Summa Mamas would sort of be the summation of all things Mamalogical--we covered the gamut in spirituality from charismatic (Smock) to quiet and mystic (SpecialK) to the frozen chosen (me!). We covered age from baby (Smock and SpecialK both!) to old (me!). We covered parenting styles from attachment parenting, sling wearing (Smock and SpecialK) to let 'em sleep in their own beds, and by the way a little crying never hurt anybody (me!). We also ran the gamut on schooling, organic groceries, makeup wearing, and loudness of voice.

But we all shared a love of our Lord and Savior. A love of his Church. And a deep and abiding love for each other. Still do. Always will.

And that's why Summa Mamas.

Next up: TSO, take it away!




Hey, we've got dibs on the Snickers bars!

On Mama T's bad list....

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....for having the first Christmas commercial (which I saw last night--before Halloween even!!!!): BIG LOTS.

Not shopping there. Nope.

Look, I cut slack for places that sell stuff that you have to MAKE before Christmas. So fabric stores, craft stores, etc. catch a break from me. If you're making stuff, you've got to start before NOW, or you'll never be finished in time.

And I'll even close my eyes to the aisles of Christmas stuff being installed right next to the Halloween stuff in the stores.

But I draw the line a commercials for Christmas decorations on TV before Halloween.

A girl has to have some standards, you know.

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."
~Oscar Wilde

Hear, hear!

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No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.

-C.S. Lewis

mon chichi

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this is my sweet chichi, or iffin' you're mamaT, my [gulp] "rat on a rope." i don't get people who don't get toy dogs; they're cuddly, protective and loyal. heck, as long as you're armed, she's a better watch dog than any butch dog could ever be, and that's the truth.

Interesting article....

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....about Jan Karon's Mitford novels, from Christianity Today's Books and Culture newsletter.

And I agree with this, also:

People either love these novels or hate them. Some readers treasure their sojourns in Mitford because real life lacks the certain warm community feeling that Mitford has in spades. Others dismiss this very sensibility as a tad too twee. (An aside: I learned the word twee from a Milford novel. Cynthia drops it into a letter to Father Tim in A Light in The Window, a fact that itself might inspire naysayers to rest their case, screeching "Who on earth uses the adjective twee?").

I'm obviously in the first camp, but nonetheless I must repeat a disclaimer I issue every time I ruminate about Jan Karon's Mitford novels: I realize that they are not Great Literature. I realize that they are not comparable to the very novels I will, in a few paragraphs, compare them to. But they are excellent specimens of what they are. I have read just about every Mitford knockoff published in recent years, and Karon's stylistic sensibility, humor, and local color beat the copy-cats by a country mile. Not to mention the fact that the first two novels in the series were hugely significant in my own conversion to Christianity. This, it seems to me, is one of God's little jokes: other people get to tell about how Dostoyevsky or Karl Barth drew them to Christianity, while intellectually prideful me will spend the rest of my life explaining that I was converted in part through the ministrations of fictional Father Tim.

Except I wasn't converted by Fr. Tim. I just love him.

Interesting list....

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....of old movies, from a columnist on Catholic News Agency.

If you're looking for something different, this might give you some hints. I'm taken by the fact that one of the films listed Prince of Foxes is the book that I'm reading now, and has one of my mother's old favorite actors (Tyrone Power) in it. I think I'll trip on over to Netflix and see if they have it in their inventory!

Aaaaah, one of my favorites.....


I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Read the rest of it HERE.

Friday Feast, Ya'll

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....the person who posts the Friday Feast questions is on vacation today, so I picked questions from this time last year:

Name 3 things that you are wearing today.

Who was the last person you hugged?

What do you like to order from your favorite fast food place?

Main Course
What time of day do you usually feel most energized?

Using the letters in your first name, write a sentence. (Example: Sweet unusual spaniels are nice.)

As usual, I will answer in the comments boxes with you.....

This is good!


From the Synod in Rome:

In Proposition number 7, the Bishops encouraged faithful to make the Eucharist the center of their lives and also called for more frequent individual confessions--a Sacrament which, they say, has seen in decline in recent years.

"It is of vital pastoral importance”, they wrote, “that bishops in their dioceses promote a decisive revival in teaching the conversion that arises from the Eucharist, and that to this end they favor frequent individual Confession."

The Proposition also called for an end, except in certain circumstances, to group absolutions, which had become popular in certain diocese during recent decades.

This is bugging me....

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One of my secret vices is that I just LOVE to watch What Not to Wear on TLC on Friday nights. I'm always impressed by what they can do and how nice the people look when the stylists are finished with them. And I love the show even though I look like (and dress like) one of the "before" people. There's no hope for me.

BUT, there is one thing I've heard repeatedly on the show--so often that it is beginning to really bug me. I cannot tell you how often the women (the makeovers are largely done to women, though they do makeover men as well) say, "Well, I just don't want to seem grown up and frumpy." One woman on last weeks show said, "As long as I keep my hair like this I can fool myself into thinking I'm 18 forever." To their credit, the stylists are big on saying, "You can dress age appropriately and be stylish. You are NOT going to look frumpy simply because you choose to dress other than as a teenager."

What is wrong with this picture?

When did it become so wrong to grow up?

Am I weird? (Don't answer that!) Why on EARTH would you want to be 18 forever? Why would you want to LOOK 18 forever?

This became the topic of discussion in my painting club last night. As short a time ago as 50 years, there was no immense pressure on women to look 18 forever. Bodies, and modes of dress, were expected to change as you aged. So far as I know, neither of my grandmothers owned a bathroom scale. Both aged beautifully, but without trying to maintain a facade of "youth." And neither of them wore those nasty polyester stretch pants that people point out as "old lady" clothes. But they didn't wear their daughters' styles of clothes, and they certainly didn't try to look like their granddaughters.

What's happened to the good-looking older woman? How come she doesn't exist any more--unless she's trying to dress like Jennifer Aniston or Britney Spears?

Friday Feast, ya'll!

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Do you button shirts top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top?

What is your favorite sandwich?

What was a family project you helped work on as a child?

Main Course
When have you acted phony?

Do you write letters or postcards? If so, to whom?

My answers in the comments box!


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Bring on those White Sox!

Thanks to a commenter....

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....over at Dale's Dyspeptic Mutterings (link to the right), I have had yet another head banging moment today (and I'll tell you about the other one tomorrow sometime!):

BRATZ wallpaper.

No! Say it ain't so!

But it is.



Barbra Nicolosi, of Act One and blog Church of the Masses, has been on hiatus lately, so I haven't been checking her blog very frequently.

But imagine! When I went there today, she had seen the new Narnia movie at a showing for a select few. While we've been worrying about how Disney would treat this much beloved story, she tells us we can now RELAX.

Go, read her impression.

Then go get your tickets for opening weekend!

....I thought it was interesting to read a review of the new Orlando Bloom/Kristin Dunst movie Elizabethtown that actually had some good things to say about it. You can find the Christianity Today review right here!

I wanted to like this movie, simply because I like the two lead actors. Oh, and OK, because Paula Deen plays a part in it and she is one of my favorites on Food Network!

"Books" #51 and #52 of 2005 finished

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#51: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. I don't know why I picked this one up! Sometimes things just call to me off the shelves, and I take them home. Maybe it's because a good friend of Zteen's wants to become a chef, and I wanted to have some insight into what it would be like.

Well, if this memoir is true, then it's no wonder that Z's friend's parents are worried about what he wants to do. The restaurant world is portrayed as a very seamy world unto itself, where the rules for the rest of the world just don't apply. Bourdain likens it to being the captain and crew of a pirate ship, and I'd say that's a pretty apt metaphor.

A couple of things cracked me up about this book: #1, his list of things he will not eat in any restaurant. For someone who will eat darn near anything, it is funny to read: "Buzzword here, 'Brunch Menu'. Translation? 'Old, nasty odds and ends, and 12 dollars for two eggs with a free Bloody Mary.' and then:

I won't eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn't a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms. If the restaurants can't be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like. Bathrooms are relatively easy to clean. Kitchens are not.

The second thing that made me laugh was his utter contempt for Emeril Legasse and most of the other cooks on the Food Network. He never mentions Emeril by name, but it is beyond obvious who he is talking about. Of course, this book was written before Bourdain had his own show on the Fine Living channel. Wonder if his views have changed now that he's a "sell-out" too! ;-)

#52: Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley. This play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of the finest things I've read this year. It is very short--only 58 pages total--taking less than an hour and a half to perform, per notes I have read.

Four characters, Father Flynn--a youngish priest, in his late thirties; Sister Aloysius--principal of the school, in her late 50's early 60's; Sister James--teacher in the school, very young nun, in her twenties; Mrs. Muller--a student's mother, in her late 30's. The setting is St. Nicholas, a Catholic school and church in the Bronx, in 1964.

Sr. Aloysius becomes concerned about Fr. Flynn and his actions regarding the school's first black student. Is he involved in impropriety? Or he is just a warm and caring priest, offering a helping hand to a student ostracized by others? Is she a clear-eyed seer of truth? Or is she a frustrated nun who sees nastiness everywhere? Is Sister James a young, warm, caring teacher? Or is she a "performer", getting her strokes from the kids--and being overly naive about the goodness of children. And what to make of the mother? Pragmatist, or someone willing to sacrifice her child to keep peace in her home?

The play was given to my good friend, M, by an openly gay guy who obviously read it one way: Nun bad, priest hounded. M read it completely differently--much more open-minded about the nuns, but definitely on the side of the young nun being right. I read it and was completely on the side of the older nun. That three people can read the play and have such completely different takes on it, is, I think, what makes it worth reading. Also brings up issues of dealing with problems in the hierarchy of the Church--how does a nun (in 1964) fight against the "good old boys" feeling that protected priests. On the other hand, what if this single nun is WRONG in her assessment?

The director, as I suppose is always true, has immense power in how this play will come out. It would take great integrity to cast the play so that the "doubt" would remain. I think it would be greatly tempting for most modern directors to not make Sr. Aloysius one of those "repressed and crazy nuns", thereby discounting the power of the play.

And when you read the dedication to the play, you see, I think, where Shanley's heart is:

This play is dedicated to the many orders of Catholic nuns who have devoted their lives to serving others in hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Though they have been much maligned and ridiculed, who among us has been so generous?

If you enjoy reading drama at all, go get this play!

you see, since i hafta be pretty well stuck in one spot when i'm nursing the twins, i've started watching more television. of course, that's the beauty of tivo, you record your shows [my goodness, that just sounds soapy doesn't it? like, hushup now, don't bother momma while she's watchin' her show. gulp.] and then watch them at your leisure.

anyhoo, i equate soaps with daytime television. and, i never in a million years would consider myself a soap watcher. in fact, i used to make fun of my friends who would actually plan their college courses around their soaps. how pathetic, i would declare, i have enough drama in my life without needing to watch someone elses! i fancied myself an anti-soap snob. i always considered daytime soaps on par with trashy "romance" novels, thinly veiled porn for women who wouldn't be caught dead at an R-rated movie, but who wouldn't bat an eye at a half naked woman in bed with two men if it's on as the stomach turns. once i even got very frustrated with a friend who insisted on watching her soap before she could go somewhere with me. why not just rent a porno and be done with it? i demanded. she insisted it was harmless because it was on daytime television. baloney. but, i digress.

the topic came up recently when smockdaddy noticed that i've taken to watching old reruns of dallas [insert yeeHAW here]. he said he never took me for a soap kinda gal.

i don't watch soaps, i insisted.
you're watching dallas, he pointed out.
but it isn't a soap. they're reruns. it was nighttime drama.
what channel are you recording them from?
i scowled, soap network.

and i'll admit that's a hard one to get around; but here's the real question, does desperate housewives count as a soap opera? if being on primetime doesn't prevent something from being a soap, then wouldn't DH count as a soap opera? because even the smockdaddy will tune in to an occassional episode with me. in fact, he knows the names of the women on wisteria lane. so, does this mean that he likes soaps, too?

ah, why not?

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A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, he goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall, and wailing, "We forgot the "R", we forgot the "R".

The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, Father?" With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word was 'celebrate'."

from the AFA:

You may or may not be aware that the scheduled speaker at the Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas' Grand Ol' Party on October 15 is Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. According to a press release from The Log Cabin group funds raised at the event will go to support the defeat of Proposition 2, the Marriage Amendment.

Should you be a financial supporter of Americans for Tax Reform, I felt you should be aware of it.

The press release states: "The local group is paying part of the salary for a field director representing Log Cabin Republicans to work helping defeat Proposition 2."

Your support of Americans for Tax Reform is supporting the effort to defeat Proposition 2, and by contrast to help promote homosexual marriage in Texas.

I felt you should be aware of this.

To read the entire press release, click here.

Today's whack upside the head.....

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.....courtesy of Elisabeth Elliott:

It is not easy to find children or adults who are dependable, careful, thorough, and faithful. So many lives seem honeycombed with small failures, neglectful of the little things that make the difference between order and chaos. Perhaps it is because they are so seldom taught that visible things are signs of an invisible reality; that common duties may be "an immeasurable ministry of love." The spiritual training of souls must be inseparable from practical disciplines, as Jesus so plainly taught; "The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches! And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?" (Luke 16:10-12, JB)

It's hard for us to think that that unmade bed, or that messy car, might be a visible sign of a not so nice invisible reality, isn't it? But I know that in my case it is certainly and completely true. When I allow all the little things in my life to get out of control, it is only a sign that the interior of my life is out of control as well.

I don't know if it is the chicken or the egg. But when I make the effort to do the small things that keep our family life on track--timely washed clothes (not washed in panic or to order), decent meals (not just something grabbed at random), a picked up and organized house (not one that you have to hunt through the piles to find the play tickets) it seems like the whole of our lives, including our spiritual lives, run better.

So whether the spiritual malaise comes first, leading to the messy house, or the messy house comes first, leading to the spiritual messiness, it really doesn't matter. Getting the environment in order puts the rest in order. I know it's possible to have a vibrant spiritual life in the midst of chaos. But I wonder. Is it possible to have a vibrant spiritual life in the midst of self-created clutter?

.....you might want to check out this resource: MERLOT.

Per the Internet Tourbus newsletter:

MERLOT -- the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching -- is a free, peer-reviewed collection of over 13,000 different online learning tools and simulations developed (mostly) by college professors around the world. MERLOT is designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education, but I've discovered that a BUNCH of the stuff in MERLOT's archives will appeal to early teenage students as well. So don't let all the "higher ed" stuff scare you away from what is a WONDERFUL educational resource.

I've been poking around there a little bit, and there's some fascinating stuff available. You might want to start at their awards page to see what they think is the best....

An update...

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A couple of weeks ago, over on Philothea Rose's 'blog, I learned about a new service: MyCatholic.com

I changed my homepage to their service, and I have been thrilled with it. Instead of getting the Yahoo "which Hollywood star has snogged which Hollywood star" or some such trash, my home page is set to some really great Catholic stuff: mass readings of the day, saint of the day, catechism link of the day, news updates from Zenit, CNA, Catholic World News, etc. There is a section with links to Catholic Exchange, Catholic Answers, etc. Of course, I also have regular news headlines, weather, a little sports, etc.

But it has been so nice not to be bombarded by icky stuff.

MamaT recommends this. Two thumbs up.


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From the website:

We are launching our “Benson-Unabridged” series with three of Hugh Benson’s most popular works. These newly released, paperback editions present the complete unabridged texts, which Benson fans have discovered can be difficult to find. Each volume features a foreword written especially for the series to place it within the body of Benson’s works and to help create a context for the 21st century reader.

For safe and secure purchases, we are providing links to Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com that will take you directly to the ordering page. Your order should normally ship within 24 hours. You can also special order these editions through most local book stores.

how timely. last week i wrote about this very topic (see "shame on you american girl") and now american family association, america's largest pro-family action site, is speaking out as well:

Possibly some of you have daughters who play with the American Girl dolls or read their books. You may even be thinking about buying a doll or books for Christmas. Well, it turns out American Girl (owned by Mattel) is partnering with a group called Girls Inc. to sell a bracelet, the "I Can" band, which financially supports Girls Inc. Seventy cents of every purchase goes to Girls Inc. The band is sold on the American Girl webpage with a large ad and a link to the Girls Inc. webpage. In addition, the webpage says American Girl is giving $50,000 to Girls, Inc.

The problem here is that Girls Inc. has on their webpage a statement saying they particularly support abortion and a girl's right to abort an unwanted baby. They were quite clear about their support for Roe, so there is no mistake or room for confusion on that count. Additionally, Girls Inc. supports contraceptives for girls. [emphasis from the smock]

They also support and offer resources encouraging lesbian and bi-sexual lifestyles, actually offering resources for girls. One of their publications states, "The emergence of a lesbian identity is an ongoing process, rather than an event."

Of course, American Girl itself is a separate company, unrelated to Girls, Inc. except now by webpage and the seventy cents on every bracelet. I checked out the Girls, Inc. website, and it is exactly as I have told you. Below are some direct links, so that you can see them for yourself.

American Girl website offering "I Can" band to benefit Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. homepage

Girls Incorporated supports a woman's freedom of choice

Convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception

Girls and Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Identities

Free your mind: The book for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth and their allies.

Girls and Sexual Health (with sexual orientation on page 3)

I hope you will take time to let American Girl know they are making a terrible mistake by supporting the pro-abortion, pro-lesbian organization, Girls Inc.

Please send them an email expressing your disappointment and let American Girl president Ellen Brothers know the company's decision casts a great shadow over their trustworthiness to put the welfare of girls and children first.

Click Here To Email American Girl Now!

Book #50 of 2005 finished

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The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith. Yes, that Alexander McCall Smith--the one who writes the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. This is a new "mystery" series, with another woman protagonist--philosopher and sleuth Isabel Dalhousie. Set in Edinburgh, the pace is much like the #1 Ladies series. Slow. But the problem is that, at least to me, Isabel is not anywhere near as captivating a character as Precious Ramotswe.

I tried very hard to not compare the two, but the similarities are too marked, to my mind. Strong woman protagonist, with strong #2 woman as helper. Stories really about everything else but the so-called mystery. The story was OK, but not compelling.

So, it's a big recommendation for anyone wanting to read his #1 Ladies Detective series, but a big MEH to The Sunday Philosophy Club series. I won't even be looking for book #2.......

Oh, dear, this is knowledge that I didn't need to have. Now I'm afraid that I will just be lurking the $2 and $3 book shelves. Like I need another way to spend money.

Today I bought 4 more books!

Sssssshhhhhhh......Don't tell PapaC. I'll have to sneak them in, put them on the shelves and act like they've always been there!

Today's take:

The Robe by Lloyd Douglas
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and
Standing in the Rainbow both by Fannie Flagg
True Notebooks by Mark Salzman

2nd great hymn today....

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Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
now to his temple draw near;
praise him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
how thy desires ever have been
granted in what he ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew
what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
biddeth them cease,
turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
sheddeth his light,
chaseth the horrors of night,
saints with his mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the amen
sound from his people again,
gladly for all we adore him.

Words: Joachim Neander (1650-1680), 1680
trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), 1863;
Music: Lobe den Herren (also known as Praxis pietatis) (Stralsung Gesangbuch, 1665)

Note: There are some small variations in this and what we actually sang, but it's mostly right......

Today's first great hymn....

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Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Words: Hen­ry F. Lyte, Spir­it of the Psalms, 1834. This hymn was sung at the wed­ding of the fu­ture Queen Eliz­a­beth II of Bri­tain, in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don, 1947.

Music: “Lauda Anima,” John Goss, in Sup­ple­ment­al Hymn and Tune Book, third edi­tion with new Ap­pen­dix, by Ro­bert Brown-Borth­wick, 1869.

Cyberhymnal has the tune, if you don't know it.

Terry Teachout's leaving...

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....crisis magazine. He has written the film review column for the past seven years. He's leaving to work on a biography of Louis Armstrong and a new column on the arts in America for the Saturday Wall Street Journal. But he is also leaving because "American filmmakers are now making so few movies worth seeing."

His last column is a series of excerpts of his reviews of what he believes to be the 15 best American films of the past seven years. Here's his list (in alphabetical order):

1. The Apostle (1997) written and directed by Robert Duvall
2. Barbershop (2002) directed by Tim Story
3. Election (1999), co-written and directed by Alexander Payne
4. Ghost World (2000), co-written and directed by Terry Zwigoff
5. High Fidelity (2000), directed by Stephen Frears
6. The Incredibles (2004), written and directed by Brad Bird
7. The Last Days of Disco (1998), written and directed by Whit Stillman
8. Lost in Translation (2003), written and directed by Sofia Coppola
9. Next Stop Wonderland (1998), co-written and directed by Brad Anderson
10. Out of Sight (1998), directed by Steven Soderbergh
11. Panic (2000), written and directed by Henry Bromell
12. The Sixth Sense (1999), written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan
13. Spellbound (2002), directed by Jeffrey Blitz
14. The Station Agent (2003), written and directed by Thomas McCarthy
15. You Can Count on Me (2000), written and directed by Kenneth Loneragan

He would add the following 5 foreign films to his 15 Best list:

1. Bright Young Things
2. Croupier
3. The Dreamlife of Angels
4. Look at Me
5. Topsy-Turvy

He gave "honorable mentions" to About Schmidt, Being John Malkovich, The Cooler, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, Guinevere, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Lilo & Stitch, The Limey, Lovely and Amazing, Magnolia, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Pi, Ripley's Game, The Secret Lives of Dentists, Sideways, Sunshine State, Talk to Her, The Tao of Steve, The Whole Nine Yards, and Three Kings.

Interesting list.....

A coupla times a year...

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....the Friends of the Library have their used book sale. While we were homeschooling, especially in the beginning, we haunted these things with regularity, sniffing out the "old" books that no one else wanted. (We also regularly attended the AAUW's annual book sale.) You could always tell the homeschoolers--they were lugging around teetering piles of books, and sending random children out to the cars to deposit the treasures found "so far."

For the past several go rounds, I have stayed virtuously away from these sales--used books being like crack cocaine to me.

Well, I was just gonna look on Friday afternoon. I wasn't gonna actually buy anything. You know, just sniff around a bit, run my fingers down the spines of the books, heft a few. Then I was just gonna put 'em down. I promise I was.


OK, I only spent $6.49, bringing home only six volumes. But the half price sale is tomorrow afternoon, and I could just run by (run buy?)....

Anyway, here's the damage so far:

1. An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden
2. Lost Horizon; Good-bye, Mr. Chips; Random Harvest by James Hilton
3. The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald
4. A volume containing five complete Agatha Christie novels: The Mirror Crack'd, A Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis, What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! and The Body in the Library
5. A volume containing five complete Dashiell Hammett novels: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man
6. At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Mathiessen

Like I need to try to find space for more books on my shelves! I thought I was trying to SIMPLIFY my life and not add more stuff! Yikes!

Just a little art....


....for Our Lady of the Rosary....


Friday Feast, ya'll!

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Name 3 qualities that are important to you in friendship.

If you could dream about anything tonight, what would the subject matter be?

Do you usually make an effort to personally thank people who do favors for you?

Main Course
If you had to go out of town for an extended period of time, who would you trust to take care of your home and belongings?

How do you react to practical jokes when they're played on you?

I'll answer in the comments boxes with you!

Book #49 of 2005 finished!

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The October selection for the Inkblots (and I'm finished EARLY for a change!). A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge.

Let me start with just a little something about the physical copy of the book itself. I bought it from Alibris, or a used bookseller through Amazon. Obviously a really old copy, the hardcover's original price was $2.50. Love it! And here's what the reviews on the back of the book say:

A refreshing book when my jaded mind most needed it. I do like it very much indeed, and I love the people in it. (Geraldine Gordon, Hathaway House Bookshop, Wellesley, Mass)

I am very keen about it and feel sure it should have a most unusually good sale. I can think of dozens of my own customers who would adore it because of its charm and pleasant attitude. (Mrs. Richard A. Kimball, Young Books, New York City)

The kind of book I like to read when I'm all fed up and need something to rest my brain and refresh my spirit. It is charming, enchanting and altogether delightful. (Annette Enderly, Putnam's Bookstore, New York City)

I would love it if I wrote a book and someone told me they were "keen on it." Wouldn't that be, oh, just SWELL?

Anyway, the reviews make it sound like a throwaway kind of novel, but I thought there was much more in it. The novel is based in the fictional cathedral town of Torminster, during the Edwardian period. The background is all high church Anglican and small town characters. Here's part of the blurb from the cover:

But all this, of course, is just background for Jocelyn Irvin, a young man who doesn't quite know what to make of his life. Then he meets Henrietta who is ten and came from an orphanage and Hugh Anthony who is two years older and asks questions ad infinitum, and Felicity Summers who is one of the leading actresses of the English stage, and things begin to happen to him. Through it all is woven the dark, mysterious fate of Ferranti, a strange, twisted genius.....

The characters are lovely. Jocelyn's grandmother and grandfather are especially dear. Grandfather is, after years of missionary work with the poor, one of the Canons of Torminster, and is living out his old age in a peaceful and beautiful place. But his insights are wonderful. He is a saintly man. Grandmother is more practical, sharp-tongued and clear eyed, but no less faith filled.

Jocelyn was injured in the Boer War, and is trying to find something to do with himself. As it turns out, he becomes a bookseller, opening a bookshop in Torminster, much to the chagrin of most of his family, who think that such a job is beneath him. Here's a little quote:

"A bookseller," said Grandfather, "is the link between mind and mind, the feeder of the hungry, very often the binder up of wounds. There he sits, your bookseller, surrounded by a thousand minds all done up neatly in cardboard cases; beautiful minds, courageous minds, strong minds, wise minds, all sorts and conditions. And there come into him other minds, hungry for beauty, for knowledge, for truth, for love, and to the best of his ability he satisfies them all . . . Yes . . . It's a great vocation."

"Greater than a writer's" asked Felicity. "Yes, Hugh Anthony, leave a space for poor Emily on the third shelf."

"Immeasurably," said Grandfather. "A writer has to spin his work out of himself and the effect upon the character is often disastrous. It inflates the ego. Now your bookseller sinks his own ego in the thousand different egos that he introduces one to the other . . . Yes . . . Moreover his life is one of wide horizons. He deals in the stuff of eternity and there's no death in a bookseller's shop. Plato and Jane Austen and Keats sit side by side behind his back, Shakespeare is on his right hand and Shelley on his left."...."Yes. Writers, from what I've seen of them, are a very queer lot, but booksellers are the salt of the earth."

Lovely, lovely, lovely book. I'm now on the hunt for more Elizabeth Goudge. I used to have a copy of The Dean's Watch, but I don't any more. Maybe a trip to 1/2 Price Books?????

BTW, this book made me even with the number of books I read last year. With three months to go! Since I have 3 more book club selections to get through (though one is very short--A Child's Christmas in Wales), I'll have at least that many more books.

On the nightstand to be next? Prince of Foxes by Shellabarger. Oh, and the next 2 #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, as soon as my mother finishes them.......

Book #48 of 2005 finished!


The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

A sort of modern-day Indian fairy tale about Tilo, the Mistress of Spices. A magic realism tale--some parts so ordinary that they scream today (the setting is Oakland, before the earthquake) mixed in with fantabulous happenings that make is seem like a tale told in 1,000 nights.

Tilo is, to the world, an old woman running an Indian grocery store. In reality (fantasy?), she is a Mistress of Spices--that is, she is someone to whom spices speak, and someone who can use them to benefit the lives of others. Her gift comes with a price. She is never supposed to become personally involved with her customers. And she is never to leave the shop.

Of course, this being a modern tale, she actually does all those things, and to top it off she falls in love with an American. Her personal involvement causes things to work out much differently than they might have had she followed the rules--and to the book's credit, her rule-breaking brings suffering to innocent people. (I say to the book's credit, because too often it is the "gotta follow my heart no matter what" that opens that wide vista of happiness and the good life in modern books.) Tilo doesn't repent of her rule-breaking, but she does come to accept its cost and consequences. And she makes the age-old fairy tale choice--love over immortality.

Not a bad book, though I didn't think it nearly as good as Sister of My Heart, which the same author wrote--and we read for my book club.

shame on you, american girl

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as the mother of three young girls, i find this very disturbing.
from a consumer advocate friend of mine:

I just learned that American Girl has partnered with Girls Inc in an "I Can" campaign. The troubling part is that Girls Inc is a huge supporter of sex ed., contraception and abortion along with gay rights and extreme rights for children.

the girls inc site on adolescent sexuality: "Health Bridge is a health-care delivery model linking girls to community health-care professionals and services—to turn information into action. Centering on the “whole girl,” it is also an essential resource for girls who choose to be sexually active to have access to necessary reproductive health, testing, and contraception services."

oh, really now? don't we all know just who those "community healthcare professionals and services" are? the catholic answer forum on this topic may be found here.

And there was joy at our house

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Because hockey started last night! Woo Hoo! Stars come back from a 4-0 first period deficit to win 5-4! Welcome back, boys!

Overheard at Chez MamaT

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PapaC just walked in from work. McKid met him at the door.

McKid: Guess what! Guess what! Guess what I'm gonna be for Halloween!

PapaC: For Halloween? I don't know? A Princess?

McKid: No! Guess again!

PapaC: I have no idea.

McKid: I'm gonna be..... A THING-A-MA-JIG!!!!!

(And no, I don't know how to make a thing-a-ma-jig costume.)

Slogan generator

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Hat tip to Philothea Rose on this one. Go here and have yourself put into a slogan.

Our Summa Mama slogan was perfect:

Welcome to Summa Mama Country!

I like it.

And then when I put in MamaT, guess what I got?

Ding Dong! MamaT calling!

Didn't it know that should be for the Smock?????

Homemaking mystery #3,092,408

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How come it is impossible to buy the correct number of bananas in any given week? Either I buy too few, and by Thursday people are walking around my house saying "Hey, how come we don't ever have any bananas around here?" or I buy way too many and end up tossing black bananas. (Yeah, yeah, I know about banana bread, but I've usually got enough frozen bananas to make a dozen loaves!)

I don't have this problem with anything but bananas and bags of salad (which I apparently buy simply to throw away).


it's too good to be true

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according to naral, the ultimate pro-abortion murder-on-demand group in the US, our great state of TEXAS is doing a really bad job of keeping up with abortion demands. in fact, according to their stats, 93% of TX counties have no abortion provider. it's just too good to be true. can i get a yee-HAW?

[nods to TS for the link.]

Killer cobbler


Yum, yum, yum. I rarely make desserts--desserts being something that I should really do without. However, once in a while, I just get in the mood to make something, especially when we have company coming for supper.

This week was one of those times. PapaC had invited a friend over to supper, and we were just having soup and biscuits. So, instead of changing up the whole menu, I decided to add a dessert.

I am not, usually, a cobbler eater. Everyone else in my family LOVES cobbler. For me? Meh, not so much.

Until this one. I cannot tell you how absolutely delish everyone, including ME, thought this was.

Taken from Cuisine at Home magazine. I had to use frozen blackberries, because they were out at my local grocery. They worked just fine. If it had been any better, I would have been forced to sit on the floor with a spoon and eat the whole thing.

Yeah, it's that good.


Summer Blackberry Cobbler
with Coconut-Pecan Topping

8 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed slightly if frozen)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant tapioca
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Pinch of salt

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t table salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed (1 stick)

1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss berries with sugar, tapioca, lime juice, and salt in a bowl. Spoon into a 2 qt baking dish.

Combine flour, coconut, sugar, pecans, baking powder, and salt in a second bowl. Using your fingertips, knead in the butter until incorporated. Mixture should look like coarse sand (don't let it get greasy!).

Blend in the egg (topping will be sticky), then arrange topping over the berries in clumps, covering them evenly. Bake the cobbler for 45-50 minutes, or until topping is golden and crisp, and filling is thick and bubbly. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.


I refuse to tell you how many calories this has in it. It's a treat!

One of today's great hymns:

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Christ, Whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

Words by Charles Wesley (have I ever told you what a crush I have on Charles Wesley? Probably not....). Sung at SMV to the tune Ratisbon. Per usual, if you don't know the tune, you can jump over to www.cyberhymnal.org and hear it!

Lovely, just lovely.



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