Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why I Am Only Giving Up Food For Lent!

God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink.
They will be given what they want!

This take on one of the beatitudes comes from the Spiritual Exercises at Creighton University Online Ministry. I am in a group that is going through the full 34 week retreat in everyday life. This particular tidbit came from week 22; the same week that I found out that I am allergic to . . . well. . . food.

I am not allergic to all foods, but according to the blood tests, it turns out I am allergic to most grains, shellfish, and legumes. I am allergic to corn and soy as well. In the last week I have had to try to find a way to live without corn, wheat and soy in my diet. I wonder if anyone realized how dependent we processed American foodstuffs consumers have become on corn, and soy products in our foods? Everything that comes from the store has either corn syrup, corn starch or corn oil in it. If not corn oil, then soybean oil.

I got a crash course in food processing on my first trip to the grocery store after my diagnosis as I was trying to determine what I could or couldn't eat. Even trying to find yogurt without corn syrup was a hard thing to do.

The two hardest things for me to give up will definitely be popcorn, which I used to eat every day after work, and gum, which I used to chew in my car when I drove. Gum probably moreso than popcorn because the need to chew gum when I drive is almost an obsession.

My nine year old daughter finally came up with the easiest way for us to shop. She said, "Mom, you just have to look for the stuff that has the least ingredients." She is right, the fewer ingredients the less processed the food the less likely that there will be corn or soy in the process. Pretty soon I will be buying all raw foods. Won't that be fun for me, the one who doesn't cook!!!

So, I have determined that I will be giving up so much just trying to learn how to eat what I can eat this lent that I am not going to try to give up anything else. I think getting this new diet under control will be enough of a challenge.

At least God spared me and didn't make me allergic to chocolate, so long as it is the expensive kind of chocolate with nothing but cocoa and pure cane sugar!


Death by Chocolate Anyone?

Sadly, for those of us on "this side of the pond" it can only be shipped to an EU address. More's the pitty.
The chocolatarian in me is intrigued, the mom in me is upset (a little). What a hoot!
Thanks to Mark for the link.

Monday, February 27, 2006


My mom is the bravest woman I know. For years she raised a family of nine children (seven of us still at home) all by herself after my father died. Now she is taking the scariest journey of her life, and one she must take on her own; she is dying of Alzheimer's disease.

At this moment her biggest fear is that she will have to move out of her house. She still remembers where she is in her house. She still remembers my sister who lives with her and has done for the past 55 years because of a mental deficiency on my sister's part. Another sister moved back in with mom a year ago, and mom sometimes doesn't remember who she is, but she has finally come to realize that with the two of them there, she can stay in her home.

Another sister and I are frequent visitors, and we monitor her health care and take care of her finances. Each week we worry that she will need more care, and each week we are ready to do whatever we feel is necessary to keep mom safe. For now, mom wants to stay at home, and for now we are doing everything we can to keep that a possibility, because we want what mom can tell us she wants.

When mom can no longer tell us what she wants, then we may have to make harder choices. I have been in nursing homes in the ministry capacity of my work at the parish. The last place I want my mother while she still has any idea of what is going on is in a place like that. There is no way that she will get better care from a nursing home than she can get from my sisters and the visiting nurses that her Dr. Can schedule to check up on her.

I know that this is all part of God's plan, my two sisters who live there have both worked with patients in nursing care facilities, one in a hospital setting and the other in a nursing home. My sister who visits cares for mom's medical needs through a caring Dr. Who happens to be her family Dr. And whom we trust completely. And she and I have strong husbands who help us to stay strong in our choices, and will help us to make the even harder choices when that time comes.

I know that my mom is going to die. I also know that my mom does not fear death. All we can do for her in this last part of her journey with us is keep her as comfortable and safe as possible. Right now that means keeping her in her home while she still remembers where she is and who the people are that are taking care of her.

Mom's faith is an amazing thing. It is one of the greatest gifts that she passed along to me.

I spent a wonderful day today with my mom, in her home surrounded by her memories. I wonder how many of them we will have left?


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Barb Says: Go To The Movies!

Just Not The Da Vinci Thingy.

I love her strategy. Opening weekend, we all go see some other movie instead of this piece of tripe and make sure that it doesn't do big box office numbers because all the right thinking Christians spent their money seeing something else.

That strategy works for me. I think we will probably see Over the Hedge, as she suggests, or there is an X3 coming out the weekend just before, that has Hugh Jackman in it. I mean what right thinking woman can resist a Hugh Jackman movie (even made up to look like Wolverine)?

See you at the Ciniplex. I'll be the one not eating popcorn, but that is for another blog post.


If This Were Only The Way It Actually Happened!

This Link will take you to a world where The whole Tom Cruise spectacle on Oprah worked out the way I wished it would have.

I guess that makes me a bad person, but since someone else made this piece of video I am not alone.



Monday, February 20, 2006

Hard Work and Prayers

I have a dear friend Judy who is dealing with colon cancer right now. Her biggest problem at this moment is that because of her compromised immune system she cannot leave her house except to receive treatments. She is practically stir crazy except for the stack of books I sent over for her to read, and the phone calls she receives from her friends and family.

To me she is the bravest woman on the face of the earth. She spent a month in the hospital in October and November with horrible intestinal problems, and she counts them as blessings because while she was being totally purged of everything inside of her, part of her tumor was swept from her colon as well. She also spent a week talking about God to the woman who shared her hospital room.

Anyway, I spent about an hour on the phone with Judy today talking about everything and nothing. It was so nice just to hear her cheery voice and know that even in her state she still has that wonderful laugh that can make me feel like there is nothing in this world that can possibly be so wrong that God can't fix it.

I am going to have to put together another box of books though, because the ones I gave her in January have all been read. I think I will tuck in a few of my Theology textbooks this time. That should give her something to help her sleep.

If you have a few extra prayers this week, say one for Judy. She deserves them. I really can't imagine what this world would be like if she isn't down here with us.

But then again when she leaves us down here I can imagine what she will be like up there. The first thing she will do is rearrange heaven's library so that she will be able to find all of the books she never had time to read while she was down here.


Everybody Loves Me!

Bl. John XXIII
You are Pope Bl. John XXIII. Everybody loves you.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Little Less Blue . . .

Unless you are looking at my arm, that is.

I fell at work yesterday. To put it more succinctly, I tumbled quite spectacularly down the last three steps of the staircase to the main floor of the parish office building. It made a very loud noise, and disrupted the business in every office in the building as people came out to make sure I was okay.

I thought all that I hurt was my dignity. It was pretty humiliating, having to pick myself up off of the floor, collect up all the stuff I had been carrying and try to complete the task I had come downstairs to complete. At least I didn't cry I suppose. I got a pretty nasty carpet burn on my forearm, and banged my knee a bit but other than that I thought I was okay.

But this morning I woke up and my arm was very sore and a bit swollen right over the place where the burn is and hurt really a lot every time I touched it or something brushed up against it. Father was so concerned about it that he made me go have it ex-rayed just to be sure I hadn't fractured the bone.

On the bright side, no fractures, only soft tissue damage.

As I was waiting in the pharmacy for the antibiotic cream and the pain killer that the Dr gave me, I realized that on an even brighter note I don't feel quite as blue as I did yesterday. That heavy cloud feeling I had concerning the job I didn't get has passed.

I think most of that had something to do with a good meeting I had with Father today about the programs I am involved in at the parish. I really do get along well with Father, and we do think a lot alike about how sacramental programs should be run. We had a great meeting today. I feel as though he is finally seeing how my work impacts the people of the parish, and he likes what he sees. It is a nice feeling to know that he appreciates the work I am doing.

In a lot of ways I hope that things work out so I can stay at the parish if that is God's will. But I want to be ready to move on if and when I realize that God has other plans for me. I don't want to be holding onto that job and that parish so tightly that I can't let go when the time comes. If that time in fact does come.

As I have said before, in the immortal words of that great theologian Tom Petty:

The waiting is the hardest part.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

So Did I Tell You?

I went and voted for Rick Lugari at the Catholic Blog Awards. And he went and stopped blogging
Like A Moron
, the bum.


Stop Banging on the Closed Door

I found out a piece of sad news over the last few days. I had applied for a job with Catholic Charities and without even bothering to interview me, or giving me the common courtesy of a call or email to inform me that I didn't meet their requirements for the job I found out through the grapevine that they had hired someone else.

And to add insult to injury, Fr tried to introduce me to the woman who was hired in the position today. Of course he had no idea that I had applied for the job, as he has no idea that while I am waiting to find out if the job at the parish will pan out I am actively seeking other employment.

I just wasn't up to making small talk with the woman who got the job I had wanted. I am sure that in the future I will be in a better place, but there is still such a bitter taste in my mouth about the entire affair. The most charitable thing they could have done was to at least inform me that I wasn't what they were looking for, and thank me for applying. To just say nothing at all smacks of being so totally rude, especially for an organization with the name Catholic Charities.

I have to believe that this is God's will, and that if that door is closed then there will be another one that will open, or that perhaps things will turn around at the parish and the job will work out so that I will be able to stay there. I still don't know what is going to happen with the position there when they combine the two parishes and DRE/Youth Ministry positions. I am still waiting and praying.

All in all I had had a really stressful day all around, compounded by being confronted with a door being closed to me, and some other frustrating situations at work as well, and being overly clumsy and falling down the stairs (only the last few, but it was enough to really hurt my dignity).

I came home this evening feeling very blue, and humbled, and wishing for at least a little ray of hope to brighten my day. Looks pretty overcast, I guess I am going to feel like eeyeore a little longer.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Search and Donate

I found this through an email from a friend, but wanted to pass it on to you all.

It is a search engine called ProLifeSearch

If you register and use it to search the net they will donate to pro life causes for each search. Pretty cool, especially if you do work like mine where you have to search for stuff nearly every day.

What could be easier than using a search engine that gives you the same information, AND donates to causes you want to support. Sounds like a winning way to work.

Thanks to Matthew 12:37 for the reminder.


Be kind to the Needy

So I have this , well I don't think I can actually call him a friend, or an acquaintance even, fellow blogger that I have come to know on the internet, and he has a thing going on on his site called:

Like a Ninja Day

It sounded like fun, and I really enjoy reading through his stuff because he does have a twisted view of the world. I think it may be from the train fumes there in the Donegal Express Station House.

I do plan to vote for him at the Catholic Blog Awards. And I encourage all of you to do so as well. It just isn't a pretty sight to see a grown man cry.


Another Born Romantic Like me and John Melencamp

Your Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"
You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.
Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you
Your flirting style: friendly and sweet
What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance
Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

h/t to Kevin at emergentpdx


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Get a Clue Day

All over the country today there will be womyn performing a play which purports to liberate female sexuality by turning it back in on itself. I don't understand this statement at all.

How on earth can an act that was intended to be an expression of self abandonment completely for the pleasure of the other person in the relationship be freeing when it is turned into an act of total self gratification? What's more to glorify it in prose seems just horrifying.

But then I guess I am just a prude.

I do know that having experienced the self emptying, sacramental, total abandonment of my love for my husband, and his love for me. I don't think I care to experience anything less.

Happy Valentines Day everyone.


Monday, February 13, 2006

My Dinner With Siblings

I was planning on blogging about this yesterday, but in the spirit of the Sabbath, I did nothing more taxing yesterday than make a meal for my family. I spent the rest of the day rejuvenating my spirit, and hopefully getting back my energy so that I can face this week and all its demands with enough energy to get through whatever comes.

On Saturday Mrangelmeg and I rounded up all of our kids and drove up to my mom's house because my brother flew in from Philly for a visit. He and my sister who lives just north and helps me take care of mom drove down with her husband for the day. We picked up our daughter who is a college student, and so all five of my kids had a chance to spend the afternoon with four of my siblings when you include the two sisters who live at mom's and take care of her full time.

It was a really nice afternoon. Mom had a bit of a hard time with the crowd. When my sister Sheila wasn't in the room mom got a bit confused and wasn't sure who the rest of us were. There was a time or two when she actually went up to her bedroom because she couldn't figure out what was going on, but there were none of the hysterics that used to happen before she began taking risperidol.

Seeing my younger brother and sister together again was really nice. The three of us make up the youngest three of a family of nine siblings. We have always felt like a little mini family. We have similar memories, and went to similar schools growing up, so we have common friends.

I complain sometimes about my siblings, but I do love them. Tina and Sheila are doing a great job of taking care of my mom, which is a thankless job. And they are the go-between for me and a dear priest friend of mine who was reassigned to their parish. Every week they give him some silly little message from me, and he sends a message back. They just love it, and they love him. I am glad.

Jeanne is such a help in taking care of mom. Without her I don't think I could do it. Between the two of us we can ususally get to mom's about once a week to check up on things. It is such a relief to know that someone is there that often keeping an eye on things.

Mat, is well, Mat. He is the baby of the family. My kids love him dearly and they almost never get to see him. They talk about him for days after they spend time with him.

We went out for a late dinner on Saturday night and spent most of the meal talking about movies: which ones we love, which ones we hate. It was a lot of fun. I think Mat was impressed that my kids have seen so many independent films. I have to admit that my kids have very eclectic taste in movies, and that is probably my because I do. We watch a lot of off the wall stuff at our house.

Anyway. It was really nice having all that time with my siblings. I do love them.


Friday, February 10, 2006

.Update on the Thriller! of a story from a few days ago

This Link should help us all sleep better tonight.

I agree 100 % about the wonderful choice of picture in the story in the link through.

Pax and sleep well

What is Love?

This weekend is the weekend of World marriage Day. I wanted to write something about the topic of love to honor that special day. Especially now when marriage is being attacked.

My marriage is a vocation. My husband and I were called by God to our vocation as surely as our parish priest was called by God to his vocation. From the moment we met God has been a central focus of our relationship. Our first date was to Mass.

One thing we have learned over the years we have been together is that love isn't a feeling. Love is a commitment; love is action. Each day I wake up and know that I will have to actively love my husband, there isn't room for passivity around here. And each day I am sure that he will actively be loving me in return.

I am so blessed to know that he is in my life, making sure that I am growing into the completely authentic person God intended for me to be. Without him I would never be able to become who God wanted me to become. You see our vocation is a dual one, we have to accomplish it together.

After all these years, he still knows how to make me laugh, and my heart still beats a little faster when I hear his car pull into the garage, because I know he is home, and we can be together again.

We are going out on a date tonight. Just the two of us. No kids. We may even eat in a restaurant with paper menu's. Or go to the expensive movie. Who knows. For me, the most important thing will be that we are together.

I hope that you take the time this weekend to tell your spouse that you love him or her. If you don't have a spouse and would like one some day I pray that you find one that is as loving as mine. If you have been called to another vocation, I pray that your vocation is as satisfying as mine has been and continues to be.


For a touching look at the male perspective on World Marriage Day read what Tony wrote at Catholic Pillow Fight

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In Case You Missed Them the First Time Around

Mark Mossa SJ at You Duped Me Lord is running his awesome series on the Autobiography of St Ignatius again, complete with personal commentary and insights after each section.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it again.

I wish I had thought to clue you all in sooner, but I am so slow on the uptake, and my homework load has been so overwhelming that it just occurred to me tonight to put in a plug for it here.

Slip on over there and spend some time catching up so that you can come along for the rest of the story.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Somebody Wake Me Up, Please!!!

This Story has to be a bad dream.

I am still reeling, and trying not to hurl. Please someone tell me the Vatican won't let this happen. But then, one never knows how God will work. Personally I am too cynical to see anything but a ploy on the part of Mr Jackson to clean up his image by association.

We do live in interesting times.

A nod to Peeping Thomists for the link.


It will say: I Told You I Was Sick!!!

A Tombstone
A Tombstone

How Should Your Death Be Marked?
brought to you by

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Splintery Week

Then Jesus said to all , "If anyone wishes to come after me he must
first deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow
me " Luke 9:23

My mother is a wise Christian woman. She used to say "I don't mind the cross so much, it's the darn splinters that bother me." This was one of those weeks where I knew what I had to do. I knew that I had to deny myself in order to get what needed to be done, done, and I was willing to do it. I had to do a lot of other people's work, because they were away, and I was willing to do it, because that is the nature of the ministry I have, we all pitch in to make sure that things get done. But, while I was trying to make sure that things ran smoothly there sure were a lot of splinters along the way. My feelings got hurt more than a time or two, and I had to give up some things that I really enjoy in order to respect other people whose needs or wishes had to come first.

I suppose if I had done all of those things without writing about them here they might be more like treasures stored up for me in heaven. It isn't as though I am trying to boast about all I have had to endure in my walk with Jesus this week. I just wanted to share that we all struggle with the splinters when we take up the cross. Being a mature Christian means that no matter how annoying the splinters get, you still take up that darn cross and carry it. And, knowing that the same splinters, or even new ones will be there tomorrow, you are willing to take up the cross again.

An interesting thing happened this week. Amidst all the chaos that swirled around me, there was a sense of such peace. I knew that no matter how crazy things got I had a promise that could never be taken away from me. Romans 8:28 was my promise:

For I know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord and
are called according to His purpose.

I certainly do love the Lord, more than my life itself, and this week I was called according to His purpose, because I wasn't doing anything I wanted to do. Almost every time I started to do something I wanted to do I would be called upon to do something that was in God's greater plan for the universe than my little area covered. I never really felt as though I was being shortchanged though, because even when things felt really overwhelming there was a real sense of peace. God was in control, and eventually the Son would shine in my world again.

I hope my sharing this will help someone else who has a splintery week of their own.