Monday, April 28, 2008

B16 Shot for Today: Why we exist: Each of us is willed. . . loved. . .necessary.

a quote from the back of a Benedict XVI Holy Card:

"And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet
the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him."

Neo-Darwinist Athists of the world, chew on that for a while!

h/t to Fr. Michael Najim at Gift and Mystery for the quote.


Dream Weaver . . . Can Anyone Help me Interpret This Dream

So I had this dream the other night, and I woke up feeling really cold and confused. I would love for someone with some dream interpretation skills to help me unravel the meaning. I did look a few things up on Dream Moods A-Z Dream Dictionary, but I still don't have it all worked out.

I was at my gradual school in one of the suites where we have stayed when I have gone down for a class weekend. There were a bunch of my classmates and I sitting around having what appeared to be a party (which we did often enough in the evenings after class was over). Through the open door I saw my family in a room across the hall. I tried to walk toward them but instead I found myself bumping into what appeared to be a large mirror. So what I was actually looking at was behind me, when I turned around to reach my family I was confronted by yet another mirror, in fact I was then surrounded on all sides by mirror images of myself.

I stood, pounding on the mirrors, because I was trapped in the mirrored box. Just as suddenly as I was hemmed in, I was released from the box; it had been a trick played on me by one of my classmates. It was at that point that I woke up feeling cold and confused.

Any insight into what this dream means would be greatly appreciated.


Friday, April 25, 2008

There She Goes Again . . .

or why I don't like Mrs, Clinton very much at all, at all.

She chose to wear a bracelet similar to this, on the day of the primary in a predominately Catholic state, when she knew that gaining s strong Catholic vote would help her to win.

She is like a chameleon. She changes to become like whatever group she needs to court. I am sure you all haven't forgotten her misfortunate speech using black vernacular English at the predominately African-American church in Chicago a few short months ago.

We all need to redouble our prayers to Our Holy Mother (and her Son, and His Father) to keep Mrs. Clinton out of the White House.

h/t to Korrektiv and American Papist for the heads up on this one.
My name is angelmeg and I approved this message.


Monday, April 21, 2008

When East Meets West: With Appropriate Adaptations

We went to a Byzantine Rite Liturgy last evening. It was a Mass of St. John Chrysostom. It was the full Mass,--with adaptations for length (so that we westerners wouldn't fall asleep). It was absolutley amazing. As to Gashwin's question in the combox of the last post, I am not sure which of the Rites it was, although I know that Fr. Denis, who was presider, is deputed to preside at Mozarabic Rites. He did pray for the worthy Bishop Cyril a bunch of times (if that helps pin down the rite any).

Two of our children accompanied us, our son and the angelbaby. They followed along quite well, although I think by communion our son was on sensory overload with all of the inscence and excused himself for a quick breath of fresh air. The angelbaby was a real trooper. She followed along and sang all the responses. She even took communion in the Eastern Form (from the little spoon with the two species mixed together. ) as I did, not realizing just how much wheat I would be getting in my portion -- as I am allergic to wheat. I kept reminding myself that it was Jesus and not bread. I might have had a slight wheaze after mass, but have no ill effects today so I guess I am okay.

The worship aide was 21 very intricate pages long, and the cantor (who is another of the monks from St. Meinrad ) had a beautiful singing voice. It was easy to join in and participate in the liturgy. I can't say that I would enjoy this type of liturgy if I did it each and every week, but it was a great experience and we are all glad to have been a part of it.

As someone once said, It is like breathing with both lungs.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

God is in His Heaven . . .

and all is right with the world.

Mrangelmeg made it home safely from his TDY. Hopefully he will be able to stay at home for a while before he has to venture out again. We may not know until next week or so. The angelbaby was really struggling , but was determined to be awake when he got home. Lucky for her he made good time and was home well before midnight.

Have a restful Lord's day.

We are going to a Byzantine Liturgy presided at by one of my Gradual School Professors. He is a monk of the abbey attached to my Gradual School and an awesome liturgist so we are really looking forward to it. I will post more about that tomorrow.


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Earth Moved

I was awakened this morning at about 5:51 a.m. to the distinct and unpleasant feeling of a moving house. At first I thought it might just be our autistic daughter running through the hallway at top speed (she has been known to shake things off the wall she stomps so hard when she gallops around the house).

In actuality it turned out to be a less than minor tremor. I feel honored. We live near a minor fault line (I can't remember the name) but the two or three times we have had real earthquake activity here I have been in some other part of the country and missed out. Not that I want to be in an earthquake or anything but I did want to experience it for myself.

Well this one was a definite seismic event, and lasted for at least a minute or so. I never quite got back to sleep after it either.

And so it goes. (as an Indiana favorite son used to write in his books.)


GO: More Friday Fun: I knew I wasn't from around here . . . but Neptune, Seriously?

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.

You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.

Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.

You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.

If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

GO: Friday Fun: I'm a Nut! But expensive and nice to have around.

You Are a Cashew
You are laid back, friendly, and easy going.
Compared to most people, you have a very mild temperament.
You blend in well. You're often the last person to get noticed.
But whenever you're gone, people seem to notice right away!
What Nut Are You?

If you have never tasted Butter pecan cashew ice cream . . . or Cashew chicken Chinese food, you have no idea how good I really am. I'm just saying . . .

h/t to Ironic Catholic for the link.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

GO: Theology Thursday: Angelmeg is Giving You Homework . . . Get Expelled!

This weekend dear children I want, no, I command you all to make time to seek out Ben Stein's new film Expelled: no intelligence allowed (to see the trailer click on the picture to the right and click through to the website).

Mr. Stein, who is my new hero by the way, takes on the Darwinist conspiracy that is attacking any person of science who dares to believe that God has anything to do with the creation of the world.

You will be tested on this information, dear children. Every time you stand up for your beliefs you will be tested in our pluralistic society where it is not just "uncool" but unthinkable to believe that there is somehow a reason for how the universe comes together at the cellular, and sub-atomic level.

My favorite story concerning a man of science and his belief in God was of Louis Pasteur, riding on a train clutching his rosary beads and fervently praying. He was accosted by another rider who asked him, "But Dr. Pasteur, knowing all you know of science, how can you believe in the hocus pocus of God?" With tears streaming down his face he responded "Knowing all I know, how could I not?"

How can anyone look into the deepest reaches of space, or the most infinitely small quarks or DNA strands and see that their origin was some random event? It makes no sense to me, and I have a rudimentary understanding of the underlying science. I look at the amazing beauty of the carefully laid out pattern of DNA strands such that we can map where each characteristic is, and it screams of some highly intelligent designer, someone who cared enough and loved enough to do such amazingly intricate work. But then that's just me.

So, dear children, Go see this movie opening weekend! Take your children. (Our eleven year old has seen the commercials on television and is already asking if she can see it.) Take your friends. Prove to Michael Moore that someone makes an intelligent documentary, we will flock to the theaters to see it.

h/t to Karen Hall at Some have Hats for the heads up.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Brace Yourself America

Your B16 Therapy Begins today!

His every move will be covered by all the news outlets!

Check here for just a "taste" of the coverage offered by one outlet.

He has said over and over again that this is a spiritual visit, not a political one, but with this being a highly political time you can bet that all three of the candidates are going to try to get face time with His Holiness to sway Catholic vote their way.
I think I would be more inclined to vote for the one (since none of the three is actually Catholic) who remembers that this is a time for Catholics to be with their spiritual leader and not try to politicize the event. ( as if that will happen.)
h/t to Kitchen Madonna for the cool image of the pope.


Monday, April 14, 2008

GO: New Media Monday: Do You HULU?

I wonder if you have discovered this great new site for television content on the web called


This is a joint venture of NBC and Fox and has tons of free, (sponsored) content from clips to full shows and even movies already on the site.

If you just have to have a fix of let's say Knight Rider or St. Elsewhere, or something from a little less far back in the past like, the MILF Island episode of 30 Rock.

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I intend to spend a few days watching eipsodes of Nanny and the Profesor.

Enjoy, I know I will.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Graduation Keeps Getting Closer

I am sending out Graduation Announcements today and it occurred to me that the official date of my Gradual School Graduation is less than a month away! I got my class ring (see picture) in the mail this week and have been wearing it ever since (thank you mrangelmeg, it is the best birthday present I could have ever asked for).

We even got confirmation of our housing arrangements for graduation weekend since we are staying down on "The Hill" for the weekend to make it less stressful on me. Mrangelmeg, the angelbaby and I are driving down on Friday and meeting up with one of my closest friends Friday evening for some good times. We promised to take the angelbaby to The Unstable --what they call the campus bar (if you know anything about the Rule of Benedict you might get the little inside joke in the name of the bar).

The other four kids are driving down on Saturday and joining us for the festivities the day of graduation and we secured another suite for them so that they can stay over Saturday night and don't have to drive back until Sunday.
We are hoping to find a place to have a little informal get together on Saturday evening for Lay Students and families, we haven't decided where that will be yet, or what that will entail, but it will all get worked out in the next few weeks.
I still have a few gifts to purchase, and a special little surprise that I have planned to hand out to everyone, I have to pick that up the week before graduation so that they are fresh. (hint, something I am well known for people will miss when I am gone).
I keep trying to decide what to wear to graduation, I suppose I could just wear something I already own, after all it will be under a cap and gown for the official ceremony. I have threatened to wear this , but considering the reception the last time I wore it when I was down there it might not be such a good choice. They might decide to withhold my diploma.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

GO: What I'm Writing Wednesday: The Mystery of Women, Fidelity and Purses

I have been wondering why it is that a woman can remain in a faithful relationship with the same man and never even consider cheating, yet she can't remain faithful to her purse for more than four months? She even openly looks for a replacement purse in full view of her current purse, which I am sure she loved completely and fully not long ago.

After long thought about this dilemma I have come up with a theory about this phenomenon. The reason that this happens is because we can't date our purses! We have to make a snap decision right there in the store that this particular purse is "the one". We don't get to try it out to see if it is going to fit into our lifestyle, or even if all of our credit cards are going to fit into the slots available. We just have to go on our gut reaction and decide that this is the purse for us; purchase it and take it home. It is only after we have it home that we find out about all the flaws.

One the other hand, we get to date our mate, and we have a chance to see if he will fit into our lifestyle. We get to determine if the fact that he doesn't eat green vegetables is something that we can live with or something that will drive us crazy in the long run. Eventually after enough dating we can make a rational decision based upon multiple trial runs in different situations that, yes this man's flaws are going to drive us crazy and we need to break it off, or we can live with the little inconsistencies, and we will be able to make a relationship that can stand the test of time. We can also decide if we are willing to put in the time to "help" the man change some of those flaws for the better. Hey it could happen, if he is willing.

Not so with a purse. We get the purse home and only then do we find out that the strap isn't quite as long as we thought it was. We discover that our favorite compact doesn't quite fit into the pocket, or there isn't an easily accessible place to store our keys. Now we have to live with these flaws, because there is no way that we can change the purse. It is an immovable thing.

So we try to adapt ourselves as best we can to "make the purse work" but eventually the problems really start to bother us. For me it gets to the point where I would rather not carry a purse at all than keep carrying a purse whose flaws drive me crazy. I have a shelf in my closet with perfectly nice purses on it all with some fatal flaw in their construction, I would rather go purse-less than go back to carrying any one of them.

That is why women always seem to be on the quest for the perfect purse. We tend to be like the big game hunter after the perfect trophy. We know that it exists like some mythical creature that some have seen. We haunt the purse department of our favorite stores looking for just the right purse. As I have stated before; in the ultimate show of betrayal we even do this while carrying our current purse. The perfect purse has to be out there, we just haven't found it yet, and when we do our quest will be over because we will be happy, at least until the season changes and then we will need to find the perfect purse in a darker or lighter shade. Who wants to be carrying a light purse in the middle of winter?

I suppose it is a good thing that we do get to date our spouses. Much less chance of being disappointed in the long run.

One hopes anyway. I'm off to search for a new summer weight purse, with a cell phone pocket and key pocket and a place for my wallet and a long handle ( I hate those ones with short handles). If you see anything like that leave me info about the store you saw it in in the comments. My pockets are getting pretty full from not carrying a purse.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

GO Training Tuesday: Why it is Good To Have Accountability

I am not admitting defeat, but I am admitting a setback. This last two weeks has been very strenuous, physically and emotionally. I have been extremely over-scheduled and just plain exhausted. Finding the time for a workout has been very difficult. When I get done with the stuff I have to do, the last thing in the world I want to do is go and work out at the YMCA.

That is why I am really glad that I am paying for the services of a trainer. Knowing that I am accountable to her each week for my progress has kept me from doing too much backsliding, or just giving in to the total inertia that I do feel. She is very encouraging, and helps me to stay motivated.

When we meet today for our regular weekly session we will go over how many (or few) extra workouts I got in in the week since the last time we met. She will help me to determine where I can find time to slip in a 30 minute walk, or some other form of aerobic exercise even when I can't make it all the way over here to the YMCA for a full weights circuit.

I can't say that I have been as faithful as I would have liked this week, but then again this week has been killer, and I have done some extra activities that have been very active to make up for my inattention to my workouts. I don't think my trainer will be unpleased, but I know she will encourage me to try to shift around my schedule a bit more to work in some extra workout time if I can.

Does anyone have any hints on how to shift immovable objects? If so I could really use them.


Monday, April 07, 2008

A Promising Career Perhaps?

The angelbaby took part in a Mock Trial today. For the past twelve weeks she has had Law Students at her school teaching her class the finer points of Civil Court Case Law. The final exercise was today's mock trial at which she took the part of the Plaintiff's attorney.

The trial revolved around an alleged slush ball mugging of Calvin by Susie. The angelbaby took her job very seriously. She spent much time going over the depositions of all of the witnesses and thinking about which questions she would ask.

The judge was one of the Law School Professors. He ruled for the Plaintiff in the amount of $9000 to cover medical costs and damages. She said the judge also said that she would make a very good lawyer. (Just what we need to hear, that we will have to pay for law school down the road, oh joy).

I have no doubt about her making a good lawyer, she was reading a Calvin an Hobbes book over the weekend and showed me a cartoon panel that showed Calvin contemplating hitting Susie with a slush ball and talking to Hobbes about it. She told me that she didn't think it would be a good idea to bring that to court with her on Monday. It makes a mother proud to know that her baby already knows how to suppress evidence. I told her that she should be sure to tell her law student that she had found the comic strip after the trial, because he would get a kick out of knowing how savvy she really had been.

I am glad she got the opportunity to give this a try, even if she never goes into law it can't hurt to know her way around a court room. For now, can't she just stay a little kid for a while longer, please?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

RIP: A Great Man Leaves Us

Charlton Heston died yesterday. He was 84 and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Knowing how painful and slow the progression of this disease is, all I can say is, rest in peace good man, rest in peace.

My oldest daughter's response when she heard the news was "Now someone can pry the weapon from his cold, dead hands."

She gets it from her father.


When Big Ideas Go Bad . . .

Dave Matthews came to town this weekend and offered to hold a free concert for Barak Obama supporters. He was inspired by the candidate's Big Ideas campaign. The concert was billed as Rocking the Change we can Believe in! There was a line that wound around the entire downtown area that began at the Obama headquarters as people waited patiently for their free tickets to the concert.

Unfortunately, the tickets started showing up for sale on Myspace and Facebook for upwards of $300 a pop. Not quite the kind of change Obama or Dave Matthews had in mind I am thinking.

Oh well, I hope the people who paid big bucks for the tickets, and the people who sold their tickets got what they were after out of the deal.

Politics is so messy.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

When a Correction Turns into an Opportunity

I want to warn parents about an insidious import from Japan called the Manga or graphic novel. My kids have been reading them for a while now. The problem is that they look like comic books so you wouldn't immediately think to look for content ratings, but believe me when I tell you that the rated T for Teen ones are nothing short of soft core porn.

I learned this the hard way when my fifth grader, the angelbaby got caught with one at school that she had checked out of the public library. I had no idea that the content of the ones available at the library was so graphic!!!!! Needless to say, she won't be bringing any of that trash into my house anymore.

As we discussed why it was a good idea not to read that kind of material if one wants to remain chaste, and what we both could do to make sure that nothing like this happens in the future, I got the idea that she and I should spend more time together doing constructive things. She has really gotten the short end a little as I was so deeply involved in completing my gradual school work.

We decided that from now on she and I are going to spend Saturdays together doing whatever we like to do. We began today by going to the first
Farmer's Market of the season. Then we participated in an Autism Speaks awareness walk. Then we went shoe shopping because she needed new athletic shoes. And finally we ended the afternoon by stopping at church for a visit with Fr. for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (hey after our week we both could use it).

All in all what started as a moral crisis has become a great opportunity for the two of us to spend some real quality time together. We got to discuss what religion topic she wants to cover this summer while we are staying in Florida (she chose Old Testament Stories). We ran into one of the teachers from her school who sells beef from his farm at the Market. He will most probably be her teacher next year as he has been the 6th grade teacher of all four of our other kids, and he and the angelbaby have a really great relationship. She got some really cool shoes, and a cute shorts outfit while we were shopping, and I learned a great deal about how her pre-teen mind works.

I would say that this correction of ours is going to be very beneficial to us both.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Go Theology Thursday: The Bonus Round . . . Confirmation Name Meme

This Free Form Meme comes to me from Adoro te Devote. I am supposed to tell you all how I came to discern and choose my Confirmation Name and what it has meant to me. (as I understand the meme)

I was confirmed at the age of 12 in the 7th grade. My story begins when I was very much younger though; age two or three actually. My parents were friends with another couple and our families would do things together. The children in the other family were all older than we were, and baby sat us. I can just barely remember a beautiful High School girl named Loretta, but my more solid memories of babysitters from their family were of Michael and Allen, because Loretta was in a tragic automobile accident when she was only 16 years old and died.

Fast forward ten years and I was preparing for confirmation. When it came time for us to choose a saint upon which to pattern our lives my mind kept going back to the picture of Loretta that still hung in her parents' living room. She was beautiful, and my memory of her was of a sweet singing voice, and delicate perfume. At twelve, I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to choose her name as my confirmation name to honor her memory, after all aren't we all supposed to be striving for sainthood (or so I thought in my middle school theological reasoning)?

The day came for us to tell Father which saint we had chosen for our Confirmatoin Patron. We were all of us, about 40 strong, standing against the wall of the room and Father began at one end and grilled each one of us on our choice, and then gave his approval or dissent to the catechist who marked it in her book.

When Father came to me and asked what I had chosen I timidly said "Loretta?"

"Is there a saint Loretta?" he asked, slightly perplexed.

Being the quick thinker that I was I replied "There is "Our Lady of Loretto, Isn't that close enough?"

Father thought for a moment and then with a sigh of resignation he nodded his approval to the catechist and moved on to the next person in the line. It may have been to my advantage that I was near the end of tbe long line of children, and he could see the end in sight and his release from the purgatory of this job he had undertaken. Whatever his reasoning was I was completely thankful.

I got to honor my undeclared saint, Loretta, with my confirmation. When I told her mom (her dad had passed on by then) why I had chosen the name it brought her tears of joy. During my teen years I wanted to be a credit to her memory, and there were many times that that thought kept me from making disastrous choices. Perhaps she was up in heaven guiding me along,

Many years later I would have a very long discussion with my spiritual director about all the undeclared saints in the world, spurred by this exact story. He said they were called to live a ministry of obscurity. I am sure that many of us have known saints in our lives who will never be declared saints in the formal canonization process. Their lives prove their sainthood regardless of if the church ever formally grants them the title.

The current standard for confirmation name (which is proper) is that one should be confirmed in one's baptismal name so long as it is a Christian name. Had that been true when I was 12 I would have been Margaret Mary all over again, and fighting with the good saint of the Sacred Heart for who got the title first. But that is a story that I have told before.

If anyone wishes to let the blogosphere in on the secret behind how they came to have their Confirmation Name then consider yourself tagged.


GO:Theology Thursday: What I'm Reading

I picked up a little book at a Red Cross Book Fair for no better reasons and than:

1) it was dollar-a-bag day
& 2) I could fit it into my bag
& 3) it was written by a Jesuit
Seriously, one should never need more compelling reasons to purchase a book, don't you think? It sat on my shelf for months unread as I completed my Gradual School finals. Then just as I was entering the Season of Lent this year and looking for something new to read my eye landed on this little blue volume with the interesting title:
The Three Keys to Heaven
by Moritz Meschler, S.J.
I had all but forgotten about slipping it into the crevice at the side of my "dollar-a-bag" day haul. Seeing no other title that really sparked my interest, I picked up this little volume and decided to give it a read as my Lenten Study. The author chose a very old style of flowery language (and gender exclusive pronouns ) and because of those facts I assumed it had been written a very long time ago, but the copyright date is 1981-- so go figure. Part of the language difficulty might be that the author first wrote in German and this was a translation from German, so I give him some leeway that the stiffness comes from translational difficulty.
Having said that, I LOVE THIS BOOK. The wisdom of the message is not lost in the odd language choices. In fact not long after my first quick read through I began to re-read it and underline passages I wanted to remember (as if I were studying again).
The "keys to heaven" or fundamental principals of the spiritual life as the author sees them are: prayer, self denial, and love of the Divine Saviour. Each of the three is taken in great detail from a basic definition to stumbling blocks, to graces received. My greatest struggle with the language was in the section on self denial because the author uses the language of mortification and I struggle to understand that type of language completely, but even so there is so much to be gained from the wisdom of those pages. One of my favorite passages from this section (it became my lectio divina for that day in fact) was:
Too much food overburdens the stomach, too much knowledge
puffs up the mind. Knowledge is not the highest good, truth stands
higher. Without truth, knowledge is mere deceit and falsehood.
Therefore, study and inquiry must follow a certain order: we must learn first what is necessary, then what is useful, then what is pleasant.
(The Three Keys to Heaven M. Meschler S.J. 100)

Anyway, I just wanted to share a wonderful little book that I found by God-incidence at a Red Cross book fair and have become so attached to because it is teaching me volumes about the spiritual life. I am continuing to study and underline passages to use as Lectio.

I hope you can find a copy somewhere (although I doubt you will find one for the same price I paid for my copy) and reap the same benefit.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

GO: What I'm Writing Wednesday . . .

is spreading across the Internet (well being posted on certain websites anyway).

My short essay on the Christian significance of meditation is posted on the website for people seeking resources for Christian Meditation and Contemplation.

Here is the link to the essay.

I am still waiting to hear about another big writing related matter which would help me immensely not only with the content of what I write but with actual time to write. More on that if it actually transpires.

I haven't been writing much lately, but plan to get back into a routine now that mrangelmeg isn't around. After all, what else is there for me to do?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's Day: Drenched in Chocolate

Because only a fool would abuse Chocolate in this way.