October 2006 Archives

Happy Halloween!

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"You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. When you awake, you will be madly in love with the Summa Mamas! You will send them all your candy, especially the chocolate stuff. You will not even consider keeping it for yourself."

men vs. women #2489

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what's up with men and their insane need for instant gratification in ALL things? smockdaddy refuses to shop online or by catalogue because it "takes too long" to get the stuff. on the other hand, i adore shopping online or by catalogue cuz it's like christmas when it finally arrives. not to mention the fact that delayed gratification is the cornerstone of my avon business!

it seems like this whole instant vs. delayed with men and women is pretty true for all arenas. i can't think of one situation in which men prefer to wait. hmm. food for thought.

call me crazy

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but i'm really bummed that reese and ryan are splitting up. if not for the fact that i really like reese (adorable, anyone?) i prolly wouldn't care less and i'd be chalking it up to yet another hollywood marriage going down in flames. but this one stings. heavy sigh.

Blog alert


Just a quick note to let ya'll know that I am both

Drowning in Paperwork


Surrounded by a Filthy House

I cannot stand it any more, so this week I am busting my, ahem, you know what to get everything back in shape. I can no longer just chip away at it, because I think I'm falling farther and farther behind as I do that. So I have pretty much cleared my schedule for the week and I am going to work 'til I drop.

I will post a Fine Art Friday entry, but other than that, I'll probably be scarce around here for the next week.

Love ya'll. Send a prayer up for me to St. Zita (who was a cleaning lady) and to whomever is the poor patron saint of bill paying and book work on my behalf. I'll let you know next Monday how it went. (Or maybe earlier if it went really well! I can hope, can't I?)



Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new! Too late have I loved Thee. And lo, Thou wert inside me and I outside, and I sought for Thee there, and in all my unsightliness I flung myself on those beautiful things which Thou hast made. Thou wert with me and I was not with Thee. Those beauties kept me away from Thee, though if they had not been in Thee, they would not have been at all. Thou didst call and cry to me and break down my deafness. Thou didst flash and shine on me and put my blindness to flight. Thou didst blow fragrance upon me and I drew breath, and now I pant after Thee. I tasted of Thee and now I hunger and thirst for Thee. Thou didst touch me and I am aflame for Thy peace...."

------------St. Augustine, my patron saint for this year

Yesterday's hymns


Introit was this one:

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;
Daystar, 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.

Charles Wesley, of course. Ratisbon is the tune.

Offertory was:

Thou, whose almighty word
chaos and darkness heard,
and took their flight;
hear us, we humbly pray,
and, where the Gospel day
sheds not its glorious ray,
let there be light!

Thou who didst come to bring
on thy redeeming wing
healing and sight,
heal to the sick in mind,
sight to the in-ly blind,
now to all humankind,
let there be light!

Spirit of truth and love,
life-giving holy Dove,
speed forth thy flight!
Move on the waters' face
bearing the gifts of grace,
and, in earth's darkest place,
let there be light!

Holy and blessèd Three,
glorious Trinity,
Wisdom, Love, Might;
boundless as ocean's tide,
rolling in fullest pride,
through the world far and wide,
let there be light!

Tune: Moscow (or Italian Hymn).

Communion hymn was this one, which I like A LOT:

Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness,
leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight's splendor,
there with joy thy praises render
unto him whose grace unbounded
hath this wondrous banquet founded;
high o'er all the heavens he reigneth,
yet to dwell with thee he deigneth.

Now I sink before thee lowly,
filled with joy most deep and holy,
as with trembling awe and wonder
on thy mighty acts I ponder;
how, by mystery surrounded,
depths no man hath ever sounded,
none may dare to pierce unbidden
secrets that with thee are hidden.

Sun, who all my life dost brighten;
Light, who dost my soul enlighten;
Joy, the sweetest man e'er knoweth;
Fount, whence all my being floweth:
at thy feet I cry, my Maker,
let me a fit partaker
of this blessed food from heaven,
for our good, thy glory, given.

Jesus, Bread of life, I pray thee,
let me gladly here obey thee;
never to my hurt invited,
be thy love with love requited;
from this banquet let me measure,
Lord, how vast and deep its treasure;
through the gifts thou here dost give me,
as thy guest in heaven receive me.

Tune was Schmuke Dich (and I don't know how to make the little marks over the u, sorry!)

And finally, the post-communion hymn was one that we don't sing very often:

O very God of very God,
and very Light of very Light,
whose feet this earth's dark valley trod
that so it might be bright:

Our hopes are weak, our fears are strong,
thick darkness blinds our eyes;
cold is the night; thy people long
that thou, their Sun, wouldst rise.

And even now, though dull and gray,
the east is brightening fast,
and kindling to the perfect day
that never shall be past.

O guide us till our path is done,
and we have reached the shore
where thou, our everlasting Sun,
art shining evermore!

We wait in faith, and turn our face
to where the daylight springs,
till thou shalt come our gloom to chase,
with healing in thy wings.

Sung to the almost sad tune Bangor, giving the words even more resonance.

now how's this for a kick? sheriff clint low (of mason county in TEXASisthebest) is running a pink prison. and, while mamaT or i may think it's awfully grand to slide in under some pretty pink sheets, apparently some good ol' boys do not.

according to low, he's been pinking up his prison to keep the population down. he says that the inmates did't care for the bubblegum shoes and jumpsuits, so he made the towels and linens pink as well. eventually, he painted the walls pink for good measure.

"most Texas males have an aversion to wearing pink, so obviously already they don't want to come back," he says, adding that he knows "for a fact it's helping." low says that in 2004, before his jail went pink, about a third of all arrests were repeat offenders. but the next year, almost nobody was coming back. same thing so far this year.


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Go to YouTube and watch THIS.

Oh no! Another used book sale!

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This weekend is the annual AAUW used book sale here in our town. I had pledged, most virtously, to stay away from the sale, seeing as to how I'm rapidly running out of shelf space and I really don't need to spend any money with Christmas coming up. But then.....but then......

But then my mother called me and said that she wanted to give me a little present: $20 to spend at the book sale! Yeehaw! I thanked her, but I told her that it was kinda like giving crack to an addict.

So this morning found me over at St. Stephens United Methodist Church poking around the tables. And here's my take. All for a mere $12.35.

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
Captain from Castile by Samuel Shellabarger
Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger
So Little Time by John P. Marquand
Women and Thomas Harrow by John P. Marquand
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
The World, the Flesh and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall (cute story attached to this one)
All in the Family by Edwin O'Connor (we read his The Edge of Sadness in book club)
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
my naughty secret and one I'll pass on as soon as I dash through it:
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Not bad, huh?

The Bruce Marshall book is one that I have never heard of. But a friend from church was also at the sale, and he came up and spoke to me. Then he handed me a book. "Here, you need to read this one." I told him that I didn't want to take "a find" away from him. "Nope. I've given away many copies of this book. This time I'm smart--I'm giving it to you before I buy it!" Tricky, that.

Fine Art Friday--Boo to You Edition!

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Children on Halloween
Miriam Story Hurford

I have a soft spot in my heart for all the women illustrators who crafted such lovely magazine covers and children's books' illustrations. Miriam Story Hurford was one of the illustrators for the Dick and Jane books. I couldn't find any information about her on the 'net, other than more examples of her work.

Very much worth a read.....

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......Michael Bywater's article in the London Telegraph. Based on his book Big Babies.

While I doubt I share many of his political sympathies, I share most of his take on the lack of actual adults in the world. Warning: some coarse language in the article. Didn't offend me, but I wanted to give you a heads up.

Here's a snippet, at the end of the article, where he gives rules for How to be an Adult:

Ignore celebrities, except when they are doing what they are celebrated for doing: acting, playing football et cetera. Skill does not confer moral, political or intellectual discrimination. (Except in the case of writers. Writers know everything and can lecture you with impunity.) If a celebrity is not celebrated for doing anything but being a celebrity, smile politely but pay no notice

Suspect administration Its purpose is to free the organisation to do what it's meant to do: but the triumph of the administrators - the lawyers, the accountants, the professional managers - means that too many organisations now believe that what they are meant to do is administer themselves. This is a profoundly infantile attitude

Do not love yourself unconditionally. Such love is for babies and comes from their mothers.

Ignore fashion, particularly in clothes. You don't want to look like a teenager for ever

Denounce relativism at every turn. Shouting 'not fair' is childish. Demanding respect without earning it is childish. Don't fear seriousness. Babies aren't allowed to be serious

Hide Grown-ups are not required to be perpetually accountable, while the instincts of government and big business, both of which are, almost by their nature, great infantilisers, are to keep an eye on everyone all the time

Eat it up There is nothing more babyish than having dietary requirements

Never vote for, do business with or be pleasant to anyone who uses the words 'ordinary people'

My annual rant

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Smock referenced my annual rant about the too early promotion of Christmas in our stores. Well, it's time for the 2006 edition, I suppose.

First let me say that I understand that there are reasons for beginning holiday preparations early. I certainly attempt to spread my Christmas shopping out over several months, lessening the cash flow impact of gift-giving on any given month. I also realize that if you are mailing presents or cards overseas, especially to servicemen and women, that you might need to get your act in gear before December 1.

So, I understand the need for stores to begin stocking Christmas stuff early. Certainly, contrary to some-men-I-know-who-will-remain-nameless's ideas, Christmas does not spring, fully formed, into the living room without a lot of work before hand.

What I object to, however, is the wholesale, all-out, Christmas carol playing promotion of Christmas before Thanksgiving. Sure, put up your aisle of Christmas paper and decorations, WalMart. And Dillards, start selling your tiny houses that make up a Christmas village. JUST DON'T TURN YOUR STORE INTO A WINTER WONDERLAND AND DRIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES CRAZY WITH CHRISTMAS BEGINNING OCTOBER FIRST!

If I had to listen to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Muzak for more than two solid months, I would become a psycho employee and plot to destroy the entire "North Pole Shoppe" section of the store with the dedication of jihadist. I think it's a wonder we don't read more about that in the paper as it is.

Anyway, the winner of the Mama T "Yes, I Know I'm a Grinch but Get Your Christmas Stuff Out of My Face" award goes to the Kroger grocery store near my house. I walked in to go to the pharmacy, and there I was met, right by the front door, with a table stacked FULL of Christmas cards. With garland wrapped around it and everything.


Stop it, people. Just stop it.

Books #46-52 of 2006 finished!

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#46: The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder by Dr. Douglas A Riley.

No, not for the McKid! We have a friend whose son is very troubled. We've tried to help the family in different ways for years. In talking to a teacher friend of mine, this book came up as a worthy read. And it is. Much of the advice is very straightforward--beginning with eleven signs of an oppositional child. The young man in question has at least 10 of the 11. The psychologist is very blunt. Family structure needs to be shored up first, before anything else can work. And the child must know that "the role of parent is not up for grabs." Insightful quote that. We saw, through our years of schooling and scouting, many a family that had forgotten that it is the parents who are supposed to be in charge.

I recommend this book highly if you know someone who has these types of issues.

#47: North of Hope by Jon Hassler. Another gem by one of my favorite writers. Frank Healy is a priest with more than 20 years in the priesthood, mostly spent at a boys' school--not in a parish situation. Since the school closed, he has been questioning his vocation. He heads back to his home town to take over the parish there, and runs into the girl from his past--Libby--now married to an alcoholic doctor. Her life is falling apart as well. The question is, will they fall apart together and into each others arms, or will Frank reanchor his vocation. How a simple old priest that others make fun of, a manic depressive young woman, and Indians on the reservation change Frank's life if the stuff of the story.

Definitely worth reading. Everything by Hassler is.

#48: Catholics by Brian Moore. A novella more than a novel, the story of an abbey in Ireland steadfastly maintaining the "old ways" in the face of pronouncements from Rome (through the Fourth Vatican Council, etc) that things must change and become more "ecumenical" etc. The Vatican sends out an "enforcer" to make the monks behave. But will they? Where is the line between conscience (properly formed) and vowed obedience? I have read the book twice, and I still don't know. I'm not a particular fan of this book, but it ought to cause a lot of discussion in book club.

#49: Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer. Discussed in previous entries.
#50: The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer. Discussed in previous entries.


#51: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. The first Hercule Poirot mystery. What is so interesting is how she just drops him into the book, referring to things that have happened before, as if you had heard of him. He comes in to help solve the case of the poisoning of an older lady--when everyone else seems to need her dead more than they need her alive. Not her best, but good.

#52: The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Yes, and children's book. I got it at the Friends of the Public Library sale. I had read her book Five Children and It to Zack when he was younger. This is a book about children keeping a holiday at school rather than going home. They meet up with another little girl, find a magic ring, see statues come alive, and learn that magic has unforeseen consequences. Charming.

Hey! Glad to be Back!

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StBlogs was hit by some problem and we've been off the air for awhile!

Glad to be back. I'll post a little more later!

Were you worried about us?

Fine Art Friday

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Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddin
by Sir Henry Raeburn

Sir Henry Raeburn was a Scottish portrait painter. You can read more about him in his Wikipedia entry here.

I have always loved this picture, because I find it amusing to think that a minister would allow his portrait to be painted while he is skating. And he is so very solemn and upright. I love the contrast between the dark black of the minister's clothes and the greenish background colors. The diagonal forward slant of his skating body. Though he seems so very proper, there must be a hint of fun in him--or we wouldn't see him skating, would we? He could have picked the standard "sitting for a portrait pose."

Soup's on!

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See, the thing is this. In Texas it is so darn hot a lot of the time, that the instant that the temperature falls below, say, 80 degrees, we start saying things like, "Mmmmmm. Must be about time for some chili." (Or stew or whatever!)

Today is that day! A coolish day, so at our house it's time to break out the Taco Soup recipe.

I might have posted this before, but I'll do it again, because right now it is all I can smell!

And a warning. If you're a purist who doesn't do canned or package mixes, just skip on by. This one ain't for you. But if you're a mom who needs dinner on the table in less than an hour, you might want to try this one. I've served it to company with cornbread and butter--to much approval. And it's a good recipe in another way. Don't have 2 cans of pintos? Add black beans or kidney beans. Works fine. No hominy? Use corn. Have a couple of unexpected guests appear? Add another 8 oz can of tomato sauce and 16 ounces of water. It'll stretch!

Southard Family Taco Soup

1 lb ground meat (turkey, chicken or beef--any will work)
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 16 oz cans pinto beans
1 16 oz can hominy
1 16 oz can water

Brown meat and onion. Add other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. That's it!

mamaT will be happy to read . . .


some retailers are learning that premature holiday spirit can put customers in total grinch mode. regular readers know that mamaT posts annual rants about bigbox retailers "decking their halls" with Christmas decorations by mid-October. good news for mamaT; finally, some smaller dealers have caught on to the fact that ridiculously early decor brings holiday jeers. read more about the turning trend here.

Here's some of what we saw on Wednesday. (No, I didn't take these pictures--they are representative, though. I just hate to wag a camera around the fair!)


Big Tex


The Texas Star Ferris Wheel
(No, I didn't ride it!)


The cows they were judging in the livestock barns


The Cardstacker

This guy is building the skyline of Dallas out of playing cards!


Maybe the biggest car show in Texas!

We saw a $100,000 pickup truck!


Quilts, photos, pickles and cooking demonstrations.

We got to sample bison burgers. Yum!


All topped off with "fair food"!

A very good day! A very good day, indeed!


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I'm on a "vacation at home" this week, so posting from me may be a little sparse. Yesterday we went to see my sisterfriend up in Wise County, and it was fabulous.

Today, my cousin and her husband were here from TN. We don't see them very often, so it is always a special treat when we do. Gab city, you know.

And she brought me a very special gift--a scrapbook that she found that her mom had put together--with pictures of my grandparents, parents and me! And letters that I had written to my aunt and uncle and grandparents when I was a child. Pictures I had drawn. Oh my. Things I never even new existed any longer. Really something to look at.

So, it's been a full day. And tomorrow we are off to the State Fair over in Dallas.

I'll eat a corny dog for you. But I won't ride the scary rides. Even if you beg me.

I'll steal a little concept from Manolo's shoe blog and on this Tuesday leave you with this:

Here's what Mama T is reading.......

Another thing Mama T is reading.........

What Mama T is watching.......

And another thing Mama T is watching, courtesy of my nephew Jack......................

Yesterday's hymns:


Introit was this lovely one:

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Whene’er the sweet church bell peals over hill and dell,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
O hark to what it sings, as joyously it rings,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

My tongue shall never tire of chanting with the choir,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This song of sacred joy, it never seems to cloy,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word, on high, the host of angels cry,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals, too, upraise their voice in hymns of praise,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this at meals your grace, in every time and place;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this, when day is past, of all your thoughts the last
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When mirth for music longs, this is my song of songs:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evening shadows fall, this rings my curfew call,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

No lovelier antiphon in all high Heav’n is known
Than, Jesus Christ be praised!
There to the eternal Word the eternal psalm is heard:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In Heaven’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sing, suns and stars of space, sing, ye that see His face,
Sing, Jesus Christ be praised!
God’s whole creation o’er, for aye and evermore
Shall Jesus Christ be praised!

In Heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sung to Laudes Domini.

Offertory was Hope of the World, Thou Christ, but it is still under copyright, so I can't post it here, and too bad for ya'll, because it was lovely.

Communion hymn was:

Come with us, O blessèd Jesus,
with us evermore to be;
and in leaving now thine altar,
O let us not leave thee!
Let thy sweet angel chorus
not cease their heavenly strain,
but in us, thy loving children,
bring peace, good will to men.

Thou art God from everlasting,
God of God and Light of Light;
thou art God, thy glory veiling,
that men may bear the sight.
Beyond these walls O follow us,
our daily life to share,
that in us thy great and glorious light
may shine forth everywhere.

Thou art man, of Mary Virgin,
born for us in Bethlehem;
thou art man, with griefs and sorrows,
and thorns for a diadem.
For ever thou art one with us
our life, our love divine;
our flesh and blood art thou, Lord;
and thou hast given us thine.

Born a babe, yet our Creator;
born a babe, yet God on high:
born a babe, O Son of David,
thy kingdom now is nigh.
Before thy cross victorious
O make thy foes to fall,
till the whole world sing Hosanna,
and own thee Lord of all.

Sung to Werde Munter.

And finally, the post-communion hymn was:

Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee;
take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love;
take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King;
take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
not a mite would I withhold;
take my intellect, and use
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take my self, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Sung at St. Mary's to Hollingside, though there are other tunes that work.

Elisabeth Elliott and George MacDonald


........two of my favorites, say this today:

In George MacDonald's SIR GIBBIE the boy (Gibbie) is up in the mountains in a storm. He hears the sound of the river in flood and realizes it is headed straight for the cottage. He shoots after it. "He is not terrified. One believing like him in the perfect Love and perfect Will of a Father of men, as the fact of facts, fears nothing. Fear is faithlessness.... A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear. It is in the cracks, crannies, and gulfy faults of our belief, the gaps that are not faith, that the snow of apprehension settles and the ice of unkindness forms."

I was doing a little music listening this morning, and went over to Cyberhymnal, and looked for one of my favorite hymns, to have a little sing along here at the computer. (And, yes, I really do that--so call me a geek. I can't help it.)

One of my all time favorite hymns is known as "The Battle Hymn of the Reformation"?????? I had forgotten that it was written by Martin Luther! Well, I still think he wrote some beautiful words, even if I don't share his views on the "earthly powers" he mentions, since I'm quite sure he aimed it straight at the Church. Oh, well. Today I think we have plenty of "earthly powers" seeking to undo us. The world is a scary place to me right now, and these words buck me up. They were also sung at my father's funeral when I was eleven. Loved them then. Love them now.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Here's the tune, if you don't know it. Also written by Martin Luther, by the way.

Fine Art Friday

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The Dog
Francisco Goya

To read more about Goya, go to the WebMuseum page here, or you can go here and get even more extensive Goya information.

Goya is one of those artists I have a kind of maybe/maybe not relationship with. On the one hand, I think that a great deal of his work is good. It makes you think, it speaks. On the other, it's nothing that I want to look at for very long. And then, this week, I was surprised by the picture of the dog--something completely different from what I expected from him. It's nice when that happens.

Here's the thing I like best about Fine Art Friday. Knowing that I need to find a piece of art that speaks to me for each Friday, I have looked at a lot more art than I ever have before. It was something that I always meant to do, but never had the time on a regular basis. By having this deadline, even though self-imposed, I have been able to read and look at things that I would have put aside 'til later. So, while it may not be an education for all of YOU to see what I happen to like during a week, it is really a wonderful thing for ME.

All this thinking about men.....

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......and, really, there are only a few things better to think about!

I happen to have been reading the perfect book to focus my thoughts on the issue: Georgette Heyer's Beauvallet. I have, in fact, just finished reading my first two Heyer books ever.

I had heard them recommended by a diverse group of people. I almost fell prey to my extreme vanity and skipped them, because in our library they are filed in the (oh no!) romance section. Honestly, I've never even walked down the shelf line in that section. It is so far beneath me, you know. HA!

Anyway, I overcame my prejudice and took out the only two Heyer books on the shelves: the aformentioned Beauvallet and another complete gem, The Unknown Ajax.

Well, be still my beating heart. I am a convert to Georgette Heyer's romances, even if I might not be converted to anyone elses.

And reading a description of the dashing Beauvallet, an English pirate riding into France to steal away the Spanish girl he has fallen in love with, made me open my eyes to what is appealling in manly men:

Beauvallet did not doubt that he could brave out the imposture, but he knew that he carried his life in his hand. One evil chance, one Frenchman in Madrid to whom the Chevalier was known, and he might expect to find himself sped.The knowledge made him set his horse caracolling on the road, never so keenly enjoying life as when he stood in danger of losing it. He tossed his sword up in the air, and caught it deftly as it fell. The sunlight glinted all along the shimmering blade. Between eight crowns the name Andrea Ferrara was inscribed, and beneath it a pungent motto:--My bite is sure. "A sword and my wits against all Spain!" sang out Beauvallet, and whistled a catch between his teeth. Then he fell to thinking of her whom he went to seek, and the leagues passed uncounted.

Spectacular, huh? That's what I like. A man with a mission. A man who enjoys life. A man who is risking it all for the love of his life. A man who takes his chances without whining or worrying overmuch. A man who knows that trying and failing is not the worst thing that can happen, though he doesn't really consider that failure option much. And a man who loves his woman.

Oh, and on a slightly different topic, here is Heyer's take on one of the evil characters:

Dona Beatrice was like a snail, she thought, trailing a sticky poison in her wake. What she touched she soiled; all virtue was made to seem a little foolish; all vice was merely smiled upon.

That might be the most perfect description of evil today that I've ever read.

Today's question of the day

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I was spraying my house with Febreeze this afternoon, and I looked down to see what aroma I had picked up at the grocery store.

"Citrus and light"

OK, so I'll bite on the fact that someone knows what a generic "citrus" smell would be.

But what does light smell like?

Go here, NOW, and read.......

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......one of the finest meditations on marriage and love I have ever read. It's by Mary Poppins Not, over at CrazyAcres. She's always good, but today? Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Here's a snip, but go and read the whole thing:

We have had lots of hurts. It is amazing how you can wound and be wounded by the love of your life. We have needed every day of these 14 years to realize that our personal happiness is not the point of being married. That love really is giving til it hurts, and then forgiving the hurt and being willing to give again. And we have not always been in sync with this notion of mutual self-donation. When both people are equal in their sacrificial love, it isn't so difficult, really. But when you are out of sync, and one gives while the other one takes, and then you switch off because now "it's my turn to get", well, love suffers.

How's this for a compliment?


Hercule Poirot is speaking, in The Mysterious Affair at Styles:

"No, no, you are on a wrong tack there. There is nothing weak-minded or degenerate about Miss Howard. She is an excellent specimen of well-balanced English beef and brawn. She is sanity itself."

Now, I'd like to think that I am "sanity itself." But if that comes at the price of being "beef and brawn"? Well, maybe not.

how fun is this?

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props to TS at video meliora

I liked Smock's post below, and it's given me a lot to think about.

This is a battle that you might have to fight time and again, because everything in our society makes bitchin' about your man an expected thing. You get a lot of sympathy for it. And you get a lot of support.

I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the ways girls just ARE. When I was a little girl, we made intense friendships. We dressed alike, we ate alike, we worked to think alike. No deviation was desired. Eventually we outgrew that strong need to be identical. We still like people who have a lot in common with us, but we don't expect them to match up exactly.

But then we get married. And that little girl thinking comes into play again. "I want him to be just like me! We'll think alike. We'll be identically romantic. We'll understand each other all the time"

But we don't. And we can't. And in the end, it's what makes us different that makes it best, if we can handle that difference as as difference and not as a shortcoming.

The one thing I truly don't get is this: Why do we, as women, feel like it is incumbent upon men to become "more like us"? Do most of the men in our lives want us to become "more like them"? I haven't found that to be so very true. Most men are far more comfortable having women be women than today's woman is letting men be men. Why is that? And why do we feel we have the absolute right to try to make them US?

What kind of hubris is it, on our parts as women, to assume that half the human race is in some way defective?

(And if any of you who read us are thinking, "Well, they thought we were defective for years!" just let me ask you this: If they were wrong before, does that give us license to be wrong now? Does "evening up things" make you happy?)

I agree with Smock. Society does not respect the role of stay at home wife and mother. Unless you have what is called (with a straight face!) a "real job" your opinions can be discounted. Because how smart can you really be? Smart women have jobs. (Bleah!) Because of this lack of societal respect, I think we SAHMs put a big burden on our husbands to be our cheering section and our source of compliments and self-esteem. And he should be.

But many of us steadfastly refuse to be the same thing for our husbands. And I use that word "refuse" on purpose--because I think for many of us it is a conscious decision we make. And I think that is ineffably sad. Somehow we have a giant ledger in our heads: "I get points for this. He gets points for that." But point-counting never leads to happiness. NEVER. Take it to the bank. If you're counting points, you better start worrying, because something is wrong. It won't work. It can't.

And I'm telling you. Your grandma was right. You really DO catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you start setting out honey, I promise you'll get more of what you need and want.

Just try it.

wives behaving badly

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i’m ashamed to admit it, but several weeks ago i was talking to a girlfriend and we were commiserating about how truly undervalued homemakers are in our society. that’s not what i’m ashamed to admit, that’s coming up soon. the conversation started out innocently enough and we kept on track for quite some time. innocent enough. but then, you see, before too long we slid face-first into the inevitable kvetching about how truly undervalued we homemakers are in our own homes. i don’t know what it is about these gripe sessions about societal ills that always brings us (maybe not all housewives, but at least many in my small circle of marrieds) around to griping about our not-so-insignificant others.

i have on several occasions made a promise to myself not to badmouth my spouse to other people. i find this a very noble quality in the few wives i’ve seen demonstrating it…like mamaT. i think mamaT would rather stick needles in her eyeballs than say anything negative about papaC.

as i was telling you, i have on several occasions made a promise to myself not to badmouth my spouse to other people. by “other people” i mean not to anyone but him. but, it turns out i’m like the smoker who quits over and over again – which means i never really quit, doesn’t it? or maybe i’m like the alcoholic who insists on joining my friends at a bar, thinking i can just hang out without actually participating in the (pity) party. regardless, i hate when the kvetching is over because i always end up feeling so disloyal and spent. it just isn’t worth it. so, how is it that these types of sessions always seem to lead to a bitchfest about how our spouses just don’t give us enough props?

i’m sure there are very profound psychological and emotional reasons for this, but basically i think it boils down to pride and pity, or both. whatever the reason, finally i realized the other day just how pathetic it all sounded. i realized that i was complaining about the very traits in the sexy smockdaddy that attracted me to him in the first place. the scary part is that my reprimand came to me with mamaT’s voice. so, when exactly did that supreme self-confidence of his turn into insufferable arrogance? yeah, um, well . . .

anyway, another friend of mine called friday hoping to settle into a nice gripe session about her husband. i cringed when it hit me that she actually felt comfortable expecting to be able to share her bile with me. so, like the alcoholic on her way back on the wagon, i admitted to her that i couldn’t saddle up to that bar with her and suggested we focus on how sexy and wonderful our men are. it felt good. i just hope it lasts.

Bummer, bummer, bummer


Just got word that Enbretheliel over at Sancta Sanctis is shutting down her blog.

While I certainly understand, I will miss it greatly.

Good luck and Godspeed!

Introit hymn is under copyright, so I can't post it here!

Baptismal hymn was This Is the Spirit's Entry Now and I haven't found it yet.

Offertory was this one:

The head that once was crowned with thorns
is crowned with glory now;
a royal diadem adorns
the mighty Victor's brow.

The highest place that heaven affords
is his, is his by right,
the King of kings, and Lord of lords,
and heaven's eternal Light;

The joy all of all who dwell above,
the joy of all below,
to whom he manifests his love
and grants his Name to know.

To them the cross with all its shame,
with all its grace is given;
their name, an everlasting name;
their joy, the joy of heaven.

They suffer with their Lord below,
they reign with him above,
their profit and their joy to know
the mystery of his love.

The cross he bore is life and health,
though shame and death to him:
his people's hope, his people's wealth,
their everlasting theme.

Sung to St. Magnus.

Communion hymn was:

Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face;
here would I touch and handle things unseen;
here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon thee lean.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
this is the heavenly table spread for me;
here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong
the hallowed hour of fellowship with thee.

Here would I feed upon the Bread of God,
here drink with thee the royal Wine of heaven;
here would I lay aside each earthly load,
here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

I have no help but thine; nor do I need
another arm save thine to lean upon;
it is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
my strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness:
mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing
here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;
thy Blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God!

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by;
yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
the Lamb's great bridal feast of bliss and love.

We sing to Farley Castle, but it has a number of others it can be sung to.

Finally, post-communion hymn was by my main man, Charles Wesley:

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Sung today (though I don't remember singing it to this before) to Love Divine (Stainer).

Fine Art Friday

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Ice Skaters Gliding Start
Henri Matisse

Graphically, I am drawn to this work of art. But when I read the title I thought, "But of course!" That the concept could be expressed by such a simple image tickles me.

At the end of his life, Matisse was too weak to stand at an easel and paint, so he took up papercutting and collage. I have always admired his strong need to create--and the determination to take up a new form of expression when he could no longer paint the way he had before. Some of his most famous images come from this time period.

If you'd like to read about Matisse, here's a link to the Webmuseum, Paris. And here is more to read from the Artchive.

Here is another one that I like. A bonus Fine Art Friday for you!

Nuit de Noel

Happy Friday, ya'll!

What's not to love?

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The puck drops tonight!
Go Stars!

Hurrah for Benjamin! And thank you, thank you, thank you for the gazillion times you have hauled my you know what out of trouble. And have reminded me about things I have forgotten. And have put your hand over my mouth to keep me from saying just the wrong thing at just the wrong time.

This was one of those doctrines that I was so happy to be able to believe when we came into the Church. It was comforting to me to realize that no matter how alone I felt, I really wasn't.

But one thing I've always disliked is the art depicting guardian angels. You know, that picture of the little children on the bridge with the big angel girl behind them? The one where if you look at it just right it looks like she is about to push them into the water?

And all the other depictions are pretty feminine and floaty and pretty.

I don't think Benjamin is feminine. Well, I guess technically he's not anything since he's a pure spirit, but since he chose to let me know him by a masculine kind of name, I envision him as a guy. And I probably need a guy--to tell me to quit with the whining and moping and stuff.

So, I'm kinda hoping that when I finally see Benjamin he looks more like this than like the girly angel on the bridge:


O most holy angel of God, appointed by God to be my guardian, I give you thanks for all the benefits which you have ever bestowed on me in body and in soul. I praise and glorify you that you condescended to assist me with such patient fidelity, and to defend me against all the assaults of my enemies. Blessed be the hour in which you were assigned me for my guardian, my defender and my patron. In acknowledgement and return for all your loving ministries to me, I offer you the infinitely precious and noble heart of Jesus, and firmly purpose to obey you henceforward, and most faithfully to serve my God. Amen.

Today's hymns:


Introit was this one:

O God of Bethel, by Whose hand
Thy people still are fed,
Who through this weary pilgrimage
Hast all our fathers led.

Our vows, our prayers, we now present
Before Thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race.

Through each perplexing path of life
Our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread,
And raiment fit provide.

O spread Thy covering wings around
Till all our wanderings cease,
And at our Father’s loved abode
Our souls arrive in peace.

Such blessings from Thy gracious hand
Our humble prayers implore;
And Thou shalt be our chosen God,
And portion evermore.

Sung at St. Mary's to Dundee, though it works to a number of other tunes.

Offertory was:

The God of Abraham praise,
who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of everlasting days,
and God of love;
Jehovah, great I AM,
by earth and heaven confessed:
I bow and bless the sacred Name
for ever blessed.

The God of Abraham praise,
at whose supreme command
from earth we rise, and seek the joys
at his right hand;
we all on earth forsake,
its wisdom, fame and power;
and him our only portion make,
our Shield and Tower.

The goodly land we see,
with peace and plenty blessed:
a land of sacred liberty
and endless rest;
there milk and honey flow,
and oil and wine abound,
and trees of life for ever grow,
with mercy crowned.

There dwells the Lord, our King,
the Lord, our Righteousness,
triumphant o'er the world and sin,
the Prince of Peace;
on Zion's sacred height
his kingdom he maintains,
and, glorious with his saints in light,
for ever reigns.

The God who reigns on high,
the great archangels sing,
and "Holy, holy, holy," cry,
"Almighty King!"
Who was and is the same,
and evermore shall be:
Jehovah, Father, great I AM,
we worship thee."

The whole triumphant host
give thanks to God on high;
"Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"
they ever cry;
hail, Abraham's God and mine;
I join the heavenly lays;
all might and majesty are thine,
and endless praise!

Sung to Leoni.

Communion hymn was:

O God, unseen yet ever near,
thy presence may we feel;
and thus inspired with holy fear,
before thine altar kneel.

Here may thy faithful people know
the blessings of thy love,
the streams that through the desert flow,
the manna from above.

We come, obedient to thy word,
to feast on heavenly food;
our meat the body of the Lord,
our drink his precious blood.

Thus may we all thy Word obey,
for we, O God, are thine;
and go rejoicing on our way,
renewed with strength divine.

Sung to St. Flavian.

And we finished with:

Lord of all hopefulness,
Lord of all joy
whose trust, ever child-like,
no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking,
and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness,
Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours,
and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord,
at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness,
Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome,
your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing,
and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord
at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness,
Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping,
and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord
at the end of the day.

Sung to the tune Slane.



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