July 2008 Archives

I'm so frustrated!

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St. Blogs has moved to the newest Movable Type version, and being the Luddite that I am,

I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot figure out how to DO anything.

I cannot find my blogroll.

I am seriously considering moving back to blogspot.

Sorry, Richard, I know this isn't your fault. It's all mine.

But I'm beginning to think that you can't teach THIS dog new tricks and I am UBER frustrated.

Now that I've had my Donald Duck fit, I will mush on.

Sorry to those of you whose links I've apparently lost. I'll get them back, sooner or later.

But it's going to take a smarter person than ME to do this.


(P.S. One good comment. I do like the ease of uploading pictures. That doesn't make up for the rest.)

food 4 thought


today, wanting someone else's money is called 'need,' wanting to keep your own money is called 'greed,' and 'compassion' is when politicians arrange the transfer.
~ joe sobran

the smock's new bumper sticker



Booking through Thursday


What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn't like but still remember simply because of the last line?

Well, the Smock already answered this question last week.

I'll have to think about it a little bit. I guess it would be this one:

He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said.

And at that, MamaT put her head down and cried.

No great thing is created suddenly.


Or without a great deal of mess, marker, glue wads and stickers. In our case.

Oh, my!

Creativity is Messy
Creativity is Messy Business

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Reading time, and perhaps concentration ability, is running a tad short these days. I picked up a Jodi Picoult book, The Tenth Circle, thinking it was the book I needed for book club. It wasn't. The book I needed was Nineteen Minutes. Oh well, I got that at Half Price Books. Since I had it, I decided to read the wrong one first.

It's a story of a family with a fifteen year old daughter. The daughter is raped (or is she?), by the hockey star of the high school team--a boy she had dated and who had broken off with her. The boy ends up dead. A suicide or a murder? What would you do if it were your daughter?

Harsh. Bleak depiction of teen life and sexual activity. Accurate? Or lurid? Or both? I don't know.

I'm not a big fan, though I will go on to read the book we're supposed to read for book club.

Next on the nightstand? Something completely different: Paul Theroux's travel book The Pillars of Hercules. I'll let you know how that goes.....

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!

Yep, that's about right


It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.


Pretty Shoe Tuesday


Since we only have a month before we have to put away those white shoes (except for our sneakers!), I decided to pick a pretty white shoe for today. I know a lot of people aren't a fan of the white shoe, and I myself do not have a pair. But I think they can look just beautiful with the right outfit.

Now the problem with showing you white shoes is that they don't really show up very well. So, I'm showing you my pick in white, first, then in red so you can see the detail. I'd actually take either:


And now, so you can see the button and piping detail, here it is in red (it also comes in black if you're interested):


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

school dazed

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i just ordered "back to school" lunchboxes and backpacks for all six smocklings; and while i'm proud that i ordered them all for less than the price of a small car, i'm baffled by how expensive it is to keep up with the current fashion trends of things as mundane as "carry-your-crap" bags.

and, i don't even want to think about the upcoming cost of uniforms. itellya, homeschooling looks more and more appealing every day.

Yesterday's hymns at SMV


Introit was this one:

This is the day the Lord hath made,
he calls the hours his own;
let heaven rejoice, let earth be glad,
and praise surround the throne.

Today he rose and left the dead,
and Satan's empire fell;
today the saints his triumphs spread,
and all his wonders tell.

Hosanna to the anointed King,
to David's only Son!
Help us, O Lord, descend and bring
salvation from thy throne.

Blest be the Lord, who comes to men
with messages of grace!
Who comes, in God his Father's name,
to save our sinful race.

Hosanna in the highest strains
the Church on earth can raise;
the highest heavens in which he reigns
shall give him nobler praise.

Sung to New London

Offertory was this one:

O worship the King,
all glorious above!
O gratefully sing
his power and his love!
Our shield and defender,
the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor,
and girded with praise.

O tell of his might!
O sing of his grace!
Whose robe is the light,
whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath
the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path
on the wings of the storm.

The earth, with its store
of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy power
hath founded of old,
hath 'stablished it fast
by a changeless decree,
and round it hath cast,
like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care,
what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air;
it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills,
it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills
in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust,
and feeble as frail,
in thee do we trust,
nor find thee to fail;
thy mercies, how tender!
How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender,
Redeemer, and Friend!

O measureless Might,
ineffable Love,
while angels delight
to worship thee above,
the humbler creation,
though feeble their lays,
with true adoration
shall all sing thy praise.

Sung to Hanover.

Communion hymn was one not in our hymnal, but is one that we sing frequently. Unfortunately, Cyberhymnal is down this morning, so I cannot give you a link to the tune. But you can at least read the words.

All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
this our song shall ever be;
for we have no hope, nor Saviour,
if we have not hope in thee.

All for Jesus, thou wilt give us
strength to serve thee, hour by hour;
none can move us from thy presence
while we trust thy love and power.

All for Jesus, at thine altar
thou wilt give us sweet content;
there, dear Lord, we shall receive thee
in the solemn sacrament.

All for Jesus, thou hast love us;
all for Jesus, thou hast died;
all for Jesus, thou art with us;
all for jesus crucified.

All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
this the Church's song must be,
till, at last, we all are gathered
one in love and one in thee.

And finally, the post-communion hymn was this great one:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Sung to Slane (Irish).

A quote


There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

------------------------Charles Dickens

Booking Through Thursday

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What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn't like but still remember simply because of the first line?

I recently posted one of my favorites, which is the opening line of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

There once was was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

That's a paraphrase, because I've loaned out my copy of the book to a young friend. And I'm too lazy to search the site to find the real version. You'll have to make do.

But for memorable openings, I think none take the place of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, whatever you think of the rest of the book (and I, for one, love it):

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Wow. Sounds kinda like today, huh?

JP2, we still love you!


To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.

---------------------------John Paul II

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


Reading time has been a bit scarce around here, obviously. But I did finish Fr. Neuhaus' book, and have moved on to Peggy Noonan's book John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spritual Father. I have long loved Peggy Noonan's writing, and share many of her underlying beliefs and attitudes. I wish I could meet her one day. But then, I'd be star-struck and just stand there with my mouth open like the goober I am.

Anyway, here's a snippet from the first chapter, about her experience as she attended the public papal visit. She gets it exactly right.

He raised his right hand to acknowledge the chants. The playfulness of the past--the way he used to wave with both hands, up and down, and say "Woo woo!" to the children who cheered him in New York and Chicago so long ago--was not possible for him anymore.
And yet as I watched him, I realized I did not see him as ill and frail. I saw him as encased--trapped in there, in an outer immobility. Outside he is old and frail, but inside he is John Paul, the one who had walked out on the Vatican balcony and dazzled the crowd twenty-four years before. And for the first time I thought: He is a victim soul. His suffering has meaning, it is telling us something. He is giving us something, a parting gift.

And then read this, and see if it doesn't bring tears to your eyes:

His suffering was his witness. Every other leader in the world stands straight and tall; they employ scores of aides who tell them to throw back their shoulders and walk forward looking like the leader of France, or England, or America. These public souls are acutely conscious of their public presentation. But John Paul came out broken and bent, as broken as the Christ on the cross he carried on his crozier.
When asked how he was, he often joked, "I'm in good shape from the neck up! Not so good from the neck down."
An aide who had watched him for a long time asked him once, "Do you ever cry?"
"Not outside," he replied.

And one more:

When he died I think we got a clue as to how much it all cost him, and what he felt. He asked, in his final requests, that a square of white silk be placed over his face in his casket. No one in the Vatican explained why. Then they announced it was "a new ritual." John Paul, in his papers, did not explain the request.
He did refer, however, in the last years of his papacy, to how he experienced life each day. Repeatedly pressed to retire, to give himself some rest after his mighty labors, he refused. "Christ didn't come down from the cross," he said.


Happy Wednesday, ya'll!

"taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic." ~rosalind russell

I can relate


I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch.

--------------Gilda Radner

Pretty Shoe Tuesday


I love, love, love Kate Spade shoes. I like the heels, I like the flats, I like the sandals. I like everything. Well, everything but the price.

So, if I win the lottery, after I pay off the church debt, I'm buying these:


Then, for fun, I'm going to get these. Because I love the look of ostrich. Something about loving cowboys with ostrich skin boots.....


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!



Here's another interesting article about Dark Knight, the new Batman film, this one from Thomas Hibbs, on the First Things website. A little excerpt to make you want to go read it:

The title of the Nolan's latest Batman film calls to mind medieval chivalry in a postmodern key. The dark knight embraces extraordinary tasks and fights against enormous odds; his quest is to restore what has been corrupted and to recover what has been lost. In so doing, he takes upon himself a suffering and loneliness that isolate him from his fellow citizens and inevitably court their misunderstanding and scorn. He is a dark knight, in part, because the world he inhabits is nearly void of hope and virtue, and, in part, because some of the darkness resides within him, in his internal conflicts between the good he aspires to restore and the means he deploys to fend off evil. Of the many filmmakers designing dark tales of quests for redemption, Christopher Nolan is currently making a serious claim to being the master craftsman.

You can read the rest of the excellent piece here.

dark knight darkly delicious



for his birthday, smockdaddy and i got in line behind about twenty people last friday night -- only twenty people because we'd purchased our tickets two days prior to its opening -- about an hour before showtime -- by the way, there were between 120 and 150 people (the poor shmos who'd purchased tickets in person) in the two adjacent lines -- because this mania over dark knight-hype had us worried (and rightly so) about being able to get seats together.

as much as i desperately wanted to blast the hype surrounding heath ledger's performance as the joker, because as we all know, hollywood simply adores coddling its victims posthumously, with a heavy sigh i admit that i cannot. mr. ledger is perhaps only one wrinkle away from genius. if that. the only other actor that i can think of who could possibly pull off sexy and psychotic as well as this would be sir anthony hopkins. enough said.

don't get me wrong, i love me some christian bale, who is faithful to the original greatness he brought to christopher nolan's first batman flick, batman begins. and the adorable maggie gyllenhaal brings a touch of class and umph that we rarely see on film these days, and who is sooo much more beautimous a rachel dawes than little katie holmes could ever dare to be. oh! and gary oldman is still fab as commissioner gordon. but make no mistake. heath ledger carries this movie. carries it and steals it and runs away with it with every ounce of his being. all with incredible restraint. hence the genius. and, if i'm accused of jumping on the ledger bandwaggon, hand me one of those fuzzy pom-pom laden bandgeek hats and a drum and i'll bang it all the way to the oscars for him.

but, am i totally ga-ga over the movie as a whole? no, can't say that i am. the entire two-face plotline could have been cut -- save for seeing mr. ledger in a nurse's uniform which was aboslutely beautiful madness. okay, okay he is the white knight to batman's dark knight, but i would have loved to see more of the joker. and, while i originally thought that poor mr. ledger was dead in real life before they could explore his joker further, i found out that christopher nolan and his co-writers decided not to explore the origins of the joker in order to portray the character as "absolute." hmmm. well, if you say so.

bottom line: it's a great summer flick, worth every penny of a full-price admission ticket.

.....but here is another good excerpt from the book I just finished, Catholic Matters:

The great thing to discover is not what it means to be an American Catholic but what it means to be a Catholic American. One might think the noun is more important than the adjective, but that is not necessarily so. The adjective qualifies, and in qualifying, controls. To say I want to be an American Catholic assumes that I know what it means to be an American but am uncertain about the Catholic part of "American Catholic." The goal, rather, is to be a Catholic American; to be a person who knows what it means to be Catholic and is working on what it means to be a Catholic in America.

We hope that being Catholic and being American are compatible, even mutually reinforcing. And most of the time that may be so. But, in the event of conflict, there should be no doubt in my mind that my identity as a Catholic takes priority. After all, it is the Church that embodies the story of the world, including the story of America. The American story is part of the Catholic story, and not the other way around.

Now, that's an interesting thought in this election year, isn't it?

Special edition this week. What else could I do?

I like the children in this first example, particularly the two girls. I think the artist caught their postures just right. No mother can not remember having a child lean over on her back like this:


The Garden Bench
James Tissot

I had never seen this before. I don't know whether, because of its unusual shape, it is just a part of a larger painting or not:


First Steps
Vincent Van Gogh

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am a big fan of the women illustrators who labored so long, without huge amounts of fame, producing illustrations for women's magazine covers, advertising and fairy tale books. Here's a lovely example by Jessie Wilcox-Smith:


Jessie Wilcox-Smith

Here's an unexpected delight from a source not known for his tenderness. However, if you do a little research, there are quite a number of delightful mother images--so obviously he had a soft spot in his heart for mothers:



This artist could really be known as "The Artist of Mother and Children" if she were to style herself the same way modern huckster artists do. I like her paintings because they portray such ordinary snippets--sewing, naps, baths. Lovely.


Young Mother Sewing
Mary Cassatt

And finally, an image from an artist who loved painting women and women with children. I think the expression on this young mother's face is priceless and beautiful:


Mother and Child
William Bouguereau

I have one request of you all, on this Fine Art Friday. If your mother is still alive, pick up the phone this weekend, and give her a call. Just to say hello. Just to keep in touch.

If you've lost your mom, say a prayer thanking God for the time you had her.

I know I am.

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Psalm 100

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Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord is God!
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

The saddest day

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Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me, my family and my beautiful mother. I know that I have done so well so far only because of the enormous grace I have received from the prayers of my friends.

I know that there are many hard days to come, but I must say that the day that your mom's obituary appears in the paper must be one of the hardest. It certainly is for me.

I will have lots to say about my sweet mom in the days to come. She loved the idea that I had a blog and wrote. And I'd like to share some things about that remarkable woman with you.

But it is too hard right now, and I cannot see to type through my tears.

And I want you all to realize what a precious jewel my Summa compatriot is. Smock came and prayed over my mama when I was too heartbroken to think of anything to say. Ya'll should be so lucky.

And sisterfriendM, if you're reading this, know that without you, it wouldn't be possible.

Back soon.

Love you.

. . .her beautiful mother just now passed away. i cannot even think of enough beautiful words about the strength and courage and love mamaT has poured out for her mother, a godly woman who has struggled with her own illness for several years. please pray for the repose of the soul of theda waurine cox.

hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee. blessed art though among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. amen.

Preach it, Fr Neuhaus!

That is the horizon of hope that, from generation to generation, sustains the great human rights cause of our time and all times—the cause of life. We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us.

We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.

Against the encroaching shadows of the culture of death, against forces commanding immense power and wealth, against the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child, against what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of the present time, this convention renews our resolve that we shall not weary, we shall not rest, until the culture of life is reflected in the rule of law and lived in the law of love.

This is from Fr. Neuhaus' closing address last week at the National Right to Life Convention in Virginia. Go here to read the rest. Now. Go.

I wanted something unexpected for Fine Art Friday this week, so I decided to spotlight the work of a German artist, August Macke. He was killed on the French front in 1914. What a shame. He was friends with Franz Marc, Kandinsky and Klee. You can read more about him on Artchive. The colors and forms are glorious.

Garden on the Lake

Blumen am Fenster

Rotes Haus

Sunny Road

The Hat Shop

Blue Girl Reading

Happy Friday, ya'll!

lefties and their lies


YouTube.com, in what the Population Research Institute (PRI) is calling a case of blatant censorship, has removed a video from its website for the sole reason that it criticizes a pro-abortion journalist. Read the full article here.

what amazes me about this video is how unashamed the radical pro-abortion propogandist, eve reinhardt, lies through her teeth over and over about her intentions. [you would think she has no morals.] and then the big ol' liar claims her intention, her desire, is to "decrease the number of abortions around the world..." oh, really? i have news for you, ms. reinhardt. if you want to decrease the number of abortions around the world, stop lining the pockets of the abortionists and making films to promote their agendas.

Not a lot of reading going on--too many other claims to my time--but I have mushed along a little at a time with Fr. Neuhaus' book, and I'm liking it just as much as when I started. It resonates with me. Here's another good quote:

Protestants on the way to becoming Catholic frequently want to be assured that their school of theology is agreed to, or at least permitted, by the Catholic Church. That is, I believe, an understandable but finally misguided concern. The Catholic Church is not in question. The Catholic Church does not have to pass the test of ways of thinking that occasioned schism from the Catholic Church. If one is a Lutheran, a Calvinist, a Wesleyan, or whatever, one does not become a Catholic only to continue to be the Protestant that one was. Of course, people bring with them whatever is worthy in the traditions by which they were formed. Again, all the grace and truth to be found outside the boundaries of the Catholic church gravitate toward unity with the Catholic Church.

As somone who attends an Anglican Use parish, this spoke to me. When I talk to Anglicans now, some of them are all het up about "Well, you've got to promise that the Anglican Use will always be available, blah, blah, blah......." And the Anglican Use is BEAUTIFUL, LOVELY, WORTHY. But if it went away, I would still be a Catholic. Now, until my last breath. (And beyond, since we'll all be Catholics then!) Even when it's hard. And even when I have to sing nasty mass music at other parishes. Yes, even then. I did not become Catholic to remain the Protestant that I was. And oh, yes, my Episcopal parish growing up was as Protestant as they come. High-flying theological arguments about some middle way and all that aside, they were NOT CATHOLIC. And neither was I.

Further on in the book, Fr. Neuhaus has a chapter called "Proposing the Story of the World", which is about the mission of the Church.

To put it simply and boldly, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the story of the world. The great problem is that the world does not know its own story. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not an imposition on the world but the proposal to the world of its own true story. For the Catholic Christian, the world is not alien territory but a creation of love that has tragically alienated itself from its Creator. The mission of the Church is to call the world home.

In the mission of his Church, Christ is inviting, cajoling, urging, wooing--calling the world home to itself. And yes, he warns of the consequeences if the call is rejected: A wayward world that rejects the invitation, that prefers darkness to light, and that turns against its own true story in vicious hostility. Yet Christ and his Church are persistent. "Love your enemies," he says. "Do not return evil for evil." Never tire of engaging them, of persuading them, of pointing out in their lives the signals of the transcendent glory for which they were created. ever weary of proposing to them the true story of their lives.

That, my friends, is good stuff.

Well, I hope PapaC thinks so!

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There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.

-------------------------------Thomas Wolfe

A Good New Recipe Find Tonight.....


This one would be good for Fridays or for Lent (unless you also abstain from milk and eggs, which we don't). It's from the January 2007 issue of Good Housekeeping.

1 package (8.8 ounces) precooked whole-grain brown rice (scant 2 cups)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Prepared salsa (optional)

1. Heat brown rice as label directs.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In oven-safe nonstick 10-inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in jalapeno and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add frozen corn and cook 2 minute or until corn is thawed, stirring occasionally. Transfer corn mixture to bowl.

3. In large bowl, with wire whisk, beat eggs, milk, cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well blended. Stir in rice, corn mixture, and cheese.

4. In same skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until hot. Pour in egg mixture; cover and cook 3 minutes or until egg mixture starts to set around the edge.

5. Remove cover and place skillet in oven; bake 20 minutes or until knife inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean. Remove frittata from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

5. To serve, loosen frittata from skillet; slide onto warm platter. Cut into wedges; serve with salsa if you like.

Serves 6.


Of course, if you want you don't have to use the precooked brown rice. But I keep it in my cupboard for those nights when I need to cook quickly and need help. If I were doing this the "right" way, I'd make extra brown rice earlier in the week and save it for this.

I like recipes like this because, except for the fresh cilantro (which I didn't use, 'cause I didn't have it!), it is made up with things that I usually have on hand. This would be a great "Hey, ya'll come over and I'll throw something together" meal. We had it with mixed melon chunks and iced tea. Very good.

It's going into the rotation.

That Smart Elisabeth Elliot!


The primary condition for learning what God wants of us is putting ourselves wholly at his disposal. It is just here that we are often blocked. We hold certain reservations about how far we are willing to go, what we will or will not do, how much God can have of us or of what we treasure. Then we pray for guidance. It will not work. We must begin by laying it all down--ourselves, our treasures, our destiny. Then we are in a position to think with renewed minds and act with a transformed nature. The withholding of any part of ourselves is the same as saying, "Thy will be done up to a point, mine from there on."

He never lived in Texas

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.

---------------------Anton Chekhov

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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Now, here in Texas, beautiful Texas, we are in the midst of summer--and not even the hottest part of the summer yet. But the fall clothes are, even now, hitting the stores. I pity the person who will need anything to finish out the summer with in a couple of weeks. On the other hand, if you CAN find it, it'll probably be on sale.

But, with fall fashion looming, even while we're sweating, I picked a shoe for today that positively reeks of fall. AND it's fairly inexpensive. Two for one!


Now, I'm done thinking about fall. I'm off to drink a diet Coke and turn down the air conditioner since I'm over at my mom's and she loves it cold! I'm trying to store it up until I get back to my warm house.

Yesterday's hymns


Introit was this one:

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
disperse my sins as morning dew;
guard my first springs of thought and will,
and with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
all I design or do or say;
that all my powers, with all their might,
in thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Sung to the tune Morning Hymn.

Offertory was a good one:

God, my King, thy might confessing,
ever will I bless thy Name;
day by day thy throne addressing,
still will I thy praise proclaim.

Honor great our God befitteth;
who his majesty can reach?
Age to age his works transmitteth,
age to age his power shall teach.

They shall talk of all thy glory,
on thy might and greatness dwell,
speak of thy dread acts the story,
and thy deeds of wonder tell.

Nor shall fail from memory's treasure
works by love and mercy wrought,
works of love surpassing measure,
works of mercy passing thought.

Full of kindness and compassion,
slow to anger, vast in love,
God is good to all creation;
all his works his goodness prove.

All thy works, O Lord, shall bless thee:
thee shall thy saints adore:
King supreme shall they confess thee,
and proclaim thy sovereign power.

Sung to Stuttgart.

Communion hymn was Father,we thank Thee, who hast planted, but it is still under copyright, so I don't have the lyrics. We don't sing this one very often. I don't know why.

And finally, the post-communion hymn was:

Thou art the Way: to Thee alone
From sin and death we flee;
And he who would the Father seek
Must seek Him, Lord, by Thee.

Thou art the Truth: Thy Word alone
True wisdom can impart;
Thou only canst inform the mind,
And purify the heart.

Thou art the Life: the rending tomb
Proclaims Thy conquering arm,
And those who put their trust in Thee
Nor death nor hell shall harm.

Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life;
Grant us that Way to know,
That Truth to keep, that Life to win,
Whose joys eternal flow.

Sung to St. James.

Fine Art Friday - 4th of July Edition


And what else could we select but those famous images by Jasper Johns:




Happy Friday! And Happy 4th of July! May your hot dogs be yummy, your ice cream be creamy, and your pools or water sprinklers cool!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us and for our country.

I've already dealt with today's question on the BTT site--which was "What are you reading?" I tell ya'll that every Wednesday (or Thursday, or Friday.......), so I don't need to answer that.

But as I was sitting with my mom yesterday, I was reading one of my much loved women's magazines, and they had a little blurb in there about "beach reads." You know, those books that you take to the pool to read in the sun. One of the points that the author of the article brought up was interesting: Beach reads have to be good enough to keep your attention, but they also have to be "put-downable" because you are forever having to quit reading them to slather sunscreen on a kid, or turn and look when the chorus of "Mommy, watch this, watch this, watch this!" gets unignorable.

So, after all that build up, give me some suggestions. What are your favorite "beach reads"?

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

I must admit it. I threw Love in the Time of Cholera in the give away stack, never to be seen again, I hope. At book club we watched the movie that was released last year, with Javier Bardem as the "hero" (and I use that term extremely loosely). Didn't like the movie, either.

You see, it falls into the same trap as Wuthering Heights, another of those "oh, so romantical" books that make me want to curse and throw things. The tag line for the movie was "How long would you wait for love?" Sounds good, huh? But what they don't tell you is that after being spurned by the girl he fell in love with as a young man, the main character proceeds to sleep with more than 600 women before he is reunited with his "love" 52 years later.

And these affairs are not without consequence. One young woman is killed by her jealous husband. Another young woman (his NIECE, whom he began sleeping with when she was FOURTEEN) kills herself when he leaves he to go be with his "one true love".

Sorry, but that is just overheated, fake romance and is a pile of you know what. You want me to admire him for "waiting" for 52 years? Then actually WAIT for 52 years. If you don't and proceed to have more than 600 affairs (which you catalog in a notebook) then it's not "romantic" it's pathetic and grossly wrong. It is yet another attempt to separate sex from love, and make it OK to have sex randomly--after all it doesn't MEAN anything, does it? Yuck.

Oh, and women throw themselves wantonly at this man ALL THE TIME. While we were watching the movie, Bethany (the youngest of our book group members) said, "Well, it's obvious that this was some man's fantasy, isn't it?"

Yes it is.

Anyway, I put it aside to read Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres, which is a small book. Basically a collection of stories about a dog in Australia. It's meh. But it's next month's book club book, so I'll read it. At least it doesn't make me throw things.

I'm also reading Right Ho, Jeeves and laughing away at poor Gussie Fink-Nottle, lover of newts. Genius.

And I'm reading Fr. Neuhaus' book Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth. I just finished his conversion story, which I was fascinated by, as I am by all conversion stories. I guess we converts can't help but love 'em, because there is such a sense of "Oh yeah? You too?" While Neuhaus was a Lutheran, and I was an Anglican, much of what he says is certainly true of me. The last part of the chapter rang especially true:

The root of all sin, said Luther, following Augustine, is a condition described in two words: Incurvatus est--we are turned in upon ourselves. The young Augustine, like people of all times, including our own, thought he was searching for God. Yet in his mastery of all the philosophical paths, he was the master, and therein was the problem. Finally he faced the question: "What am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?" Perhaps his best-known line is this: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Rest comes with surrender, with being shaken out of the state of incurvatus est, with submission to an other, and finally to the Other. The Other is embodied, as in the body of Christ, the Church. The form of the body, most fully and rightly ordered through time, has a location as specific as the location of New York. Finitum capax infiniti--the finite is capable of the infinite. One's search could not forever stop short of the finite that is the Catholic Church.

One day maybe I'll write out my conversion story. But this much is the same as Fr. Neuhaus' search--though he puts his so well, and I cannot--our search began with a search for the Church that was TRUE, not the Church of Terry and Craig. We knew we had to be where truth was, not where we were comfortable. In fact, we suspected that comfort would have very little to do with it.

Anyway, Neuhaus' book is good, and worth a look.

Two takes on PST today. If you're going to a nice, air-conditioned, INSIDE party, you might want to make merry by wearing these cute little numbers:


BUT, if you're going out with a bunch of hot sweaty people to line the streets of downtown and watch the 2nd largest day time 4th of July parade in the whole country, you just might want to wear something like this instead:


Guess which pair I'm more likely to wear?

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!



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