Monday, June 29, 2009

Mystic Monday : Amma Syncletica

Dear children, in honor of Sr. Joan I am going to take us to visit with one of the desert mothers. Sr Joan taught me so much about life and exemplified the spirit of the Desert Mothers with her ministry at St Vincent over the 26 years she spent there. So to honor her I have chosen a visit with Amma Syncletica who encouraged self awareness as the pathway to a closer relationship with Christ.

Amma Syncletica was born into a noble family in Alexandria. At a young age she learned hard lessons through the deaths of her two beloved brothers and living with a sister who was blind. When her parents died she sold all her belongings, gave the proceeds to the poor and with her sister went to live in the family tomb in the hills to live as an ascetic.

Many women saw in her an example and teacher and began to come to her. She taught them how to strip away all that was unnecessary except for Christ alone, and to live a very simple holy life.

Here are a few of her sayings to ponder:

Amma Syncletica said: In the beginning there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it is smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.

She also said: Those who put out to sea at first sailed with a favourable wind; then the sails spread, but later the wind becomes adverse. Then the ship is tossed by the waves and is no longer controlled by the rudder. But when in a little while there is calm, and the tempest dies down, then the ship sails on again. So it is with us, when we are driven by the spirits who are against us; we hold to the cross as our sail and so we can set a safe course.

She also said: There is an asceticism which is determined by the enemy and his disciples practise it. So how are we to distinguish between the divine and royal asceticism and the demonic tyranny? Clearly through its quality of balance.”

In other words, if it is worth doing it is worth perservering.

Keep on keeping on but stay balanced and remain focused on the goal.

Have someone you trust watch over you so that you don't do great harm to yourself in your practice of ascetism. Too much privation isn't good for anybody.



Yesterday I went to the farewell luncheon for the Pastoral Associate, Sr. Joan Luerman OSF with whom I had worked for the entire six years that I was in Parish Ministry. She is retiring from active ministry to return to her Mother House (She is an Oldenburg Franciscan ). I was a bit intimidated about going back to the parish after so long.

There are some parishioners who were happy to see me leave I would venture to say that that is true of anyone in ministry. Someone once told me when I was having a particularly difficult time with one parishioner, that if you aren't making someone mad, you just aren't doing your job.

It really was a nice day though, in general everyone was pleasant, and there were so many people that I was happy to see again. Some that I hadn't realized how much I missed until I did see them. One woman, Sharon, had been my assistant in the School of Religion program the entire time was a particularly poignant reconnection with a promise of a lunch sometime really soon.

Another couple, are the Confirmation sponsors of my two middle daughters, whom they occasionally get cards from but we no longer talk to or see regularly. The husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and is in the early stages. Knowing that I am dealing with it with my mother, the wife thinks of me. He seems to be coping pretty well for now. My prayers are redoubled and very focused for them now.

Another woman, Amy whom I used to chat with often in the last year or so I worked there wasn't a Catholic yet when I was still there. At the time she was a Buddhist, and was being awakened to life as a mystic. I sought her out because in her I saw someone who might understand and be able to put words to my awakening avenue of prayer. We talked about our understanding of prayer as a mystical, often wordless connection to the Transcendent Other. We also talked about Eucharist and Trinity and other theological matters during our discussions. At the time I felt that she was on the road to the Church and some day, when the time was right would join her husband and son at the Table. Just last year I saw her name in the Archdiocesan paper in the list of those who were being welcomed into the Church at the Vigil Mass and my heart sang for joy. Each Monday when I sit down to write my Mystic Monday post I think of Amy, because she helped me to understand that being a mystic was one way God speaks to our hearts, and we can embrace that way and be totally open to it. We promised to get together this week for lunch. I can't wait to have another chat.

The Parish Deacon was on his yearly retreat, but his wife, Kathy, who had been the parish secretary while I was working there was in attendance, and we got to chat. I also got to see her daughter, April who spent a lot of time in the office, and whose wedding I attended while I was working at the parish. They both looked wonderful. And made me really sad that I haven't kept better in touch with them.

A young woman, Elizabeth, whose brother is a seminarian at my Gradual School was there. I have been trying to encourage her to attend St. Meinrad as a lay student every since she graduated from Steubenville. I think it would be an awesome fit for her and she would be an awesome addition to the Lay Degree program. Now that her brother Joshua is there as a seminarian I encouraged her to go down for a visit and get in touch with the Director of the Lay Degree program and have a look around. I may have been a bit of a hard sell, but hey, it was one of the best things I did, and something that good has to be shared.

All in all the reception I got was really great. I did have really sort of sour note, and both of the priests I had worked for were there and between them I didn't get a full sentence of recognition that I was even in attendance, but it wasn't my day, so whatever.

I loved Sr. Joan and I hope her retirement is as wonderful as her ministry was.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movie Festival for Year of the Priest

So Rufus from Korrektiv and I have been tweeting all day about the idea of watching a movie a week that includes or is about a priest for the year of the priest. We came up with a pretty good list to begin. Here are the ones I came up with, you can add more as you think of them or remember ones you have seen.

BTW: I know that Francis of Assisi wasn't a priest, but there are priests in his story, and his story is worth seeing so that is why I have included two versions of his story in my list.

1. Going My Way 1944
2. The Bells of St Mary's 1945
3. Keeping the Faith 2000
4. Sleepers 1996
5. Hoodlum Priest 1961
6. The Keys of the Kingdom 1944
7. The Mission 1986
8. The Scarlet and the Black 1983
9. The Assisi Underground 1985
10. The Massacre in Rome 1973
11. Becket 1964
12 . The Third Miracle 1999
13. The Novice (aka Crossroads) 2006
14. The Exorcist 1973
15. The Shoes of the Fisherman 1968
16. Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damian 1999
17. The Left Hand of God 1955
18. Diary of a Country Priest 1951
19. The Fugitive 1947
20. The Confessor (The Good Shepherd) 2004
21. Black Robe 1991
22. Mass Appeal 1984
23. Angels with Dirty Faces 1938
24. Fighting Father Dunne 1948
25. Boys Town 1938
26. On the Waterfront 1954
27. The Fr. Clements Story 1987
28. The Cardinal 1963
29. I Confess 1953
30. Doubt 2008
31. Miracle of the Bells 1948
32. Gran Torino 2008
33. Seven Cities of Gold 1955
34. Saint Ralph 2004
35. Don Bosco 1988
36. The Devil at 4 O'clock 1961
37. The Fighting 69th 1940
38. San Francisco 1938
39. Francesco 1989
40. Francis of Assisi 1961
41. Zycie za Zycie (Life for Life) 1991 Polish Maximillian Kolbe film
42. Pope John Paul II 2005
43. Karol: The Man Who Became Pope 2005
44. The Miracle of Marcelino 1955
45. Hounds of Notre Dame 1980
46. Jesus of Montreal 1989
47. Monsieur Vincent 1947
48. Nazarin 1959
49. Au Revoir les Enfant 1987
50. Papa Giovanni John XXIII 2002
51. The Reluctant Saint 1962
52. The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2005

Other Options

Stigmata 1999
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend 2000
The Order 2003
Brother Sun Sister Moon 1972
True Confessions 1981
Father Brown 1954
The Prisoner 1955

Television Series
Father Ted 1995
Father Dowling Mysteries
Bless Me Father
Nothing Sacred

If you have any favorites that I missed please add them in the comment box. I purposely didn't include The Thornbirds or the Exorcist sequels, which I probably should have, but I just didn't like them.


This isn't Choice

This article is extremely hard to read, but you have to know about what is happening in the name of "population control" in other countries with the support of our tax dollars.

How could any sane person look at this story and not see it for what it is. Women are being brutalized in so many ways, and the world turns a blind eye because the end that it is seeking is being met; i.e. population control.

What upsets me is that any woman could back a policy that could do this to another woman.


Training in Spiritual Direction

I spent four grueling years working towards a Masters of Arts in Catholic Theology because for most of that time the job I had required that I have that degree. Unfortunately for me, because of a pastoral change, the new parish priest decided that the parish didn't need someone with a Master's Degree, and for other personal reasons it became apparent that it was time to move on from that position. It took a year of prayer and discernment for me to come to that decision, but I was able to do so.

After in my final year of Grad School, with the help of my Spiritual Director and more prayer and discernment I tried to determine what I should do next. He was the one who cautioned me not to move until the Spirit moved me, and it wasn't until someone suggested to me that I would make a good Spiritual Director that it even occurred to me that I should even pursue that avenue. Every time I prayed about Spiritual Direction, the Spirit would well up within me and I would feel moved in that direction, while when I prayed about any other vocational choices I would feel no movement of the spirit at all, and believe me, I had been exploring options, even to the point of applying for a job as campus minister at a local university.

I searched for a Spiritual Direction training program and found one that met my needs. While it was an ecumenical program it was at a Catholic institution, and it was grounded in the Catholic faith. It began with the history of spirituality dating back to the desert fathers and leading up to an in depth study of John of the Cross, Ignatius and Teresa of Avilla as Spiritual Masters. Because of the ecumenical nature of the program, it also included a few sessions on Quaker discernment and Praying the Labyrinth.

What I have learned is to take everything in with a discerning heart. The program offers this information for our edification. Considering the fact that when I do begin my career as a spiritual director I will be working with Catholic directees the chance that I will use the Quaker spirituality that I am learning will come into play is probably not very likely. I will be more likely to be guiding my directees toward the historical tradition of the Church. But having said that, I am glad that I have been exposed to the other spiritualities and to the other people in my program who aren't Catholic because I have learned a great deal about spirituality and prayer from them.

I look at it as the same reason as having had to study philosophy when I was in Gradual School. Some of the modern philosophers were for the most part trying to explain the ontological arguments while excluding any reference to God. Studying these philosophers didn't harm my faith, but rather it strengthened it by helping me to understand and define what it is that I do believe. I can be exposed to these things in my training program without accepting them as Big T Truth as I do the tenets of my Catholic faith and Tradition.

Suffice it to say I am not going to emerge from this training program spouting some "new age" spirituality when I have a deep well of two thousand years of Tradition and Spirituality from which to draw.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Mystic Monday John of the Cross on Love: all is nothing

Today dear children I am in a wistful mood, having just celebrated the birthday of the love of my life yesterday. So I think we shall visit our friend John of the Cross who knew a bit about love. .

His father Gonzalo was of noble blood and as a young man fell in love with a beautiful orphan girl, Catalina who made a living from weaving. His family were scandalized by the liaison and told him that they would disown him if he married this woman. John's father chose love over money and family loyalty, and married her anyway. John was the third son of this poor but happy union. Not long after John was born his father died due to lack of good health care.

The lesson John learned, taught to him by his father's example and his mother's self sacrificing love was that true love is worth any price, and if it is authentic, it is worth any sacrifice one has to make to achieve it.

Eventually this would be how John approached his own relationship with God. He would seek nothing, so that God could become everything for him. This is the bit I want to share with you today the way of nothing:

To come to savour all
seek to find savour in nothing;
To come to posses all,
seek possession in nothing;
to come to be all,
seek in all to be nothing. . .
to come to what you know not
you must go by a way where you know not . . .
to come to what you are not
you must go by a way where you are not.

It may be a bit of an enigma wrapped in a riddle locked in a puzzle for a very long time, but if you are seeking God, the way to true enlightenment and fulfillment is through self emptying sacrifice. If you seek to be empty, then God will fill the space.


Sunday, June 21, 2009


Today (as it happens every seven years ) mrangelmeg gets a two-for-one Super Special Holiday bonus in which he gets to celebrate both his birthday and Father's Day on the same day. The kids gave him a really cute Father's day card and added a Happy Birthday message.

Mrangelmeg has had greying hair for a few years now, and his hairline is a bit further back than it was when we first got married, but he still doesn't "feel old". The problem is, people look at him and make assumptions about his age that are quite unflattering. He has more often than he cares to admit been offered the "senior discount" at fast food restaurants. He used to get upset, now he just takes the drink or whatever it is without arguing.

He works with a man who is twenty years older than he is and has a similar look but to someone at all observant they look nothing alike, yet they have been mistaken for each other by shop owners when they are on travel together.

Anyway all of this is enough to make any younger man feel at least a little discouraged. But he shouldn't. He will always be a big kid at heart. He will always have a juvenile sense of humor. He will always be the guy I love, whose smile makes me go weak in the knees.

He is on his way out to play some golf and then spend the rest of the day with his dad. Oh, I forgot about that, someone mistook him for his dad's brother once. If he didn't have such a great sense of humor he wouldn't be the man I married.

Happy Birthday/Father's Day my love, may you have many, many more.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day with tears

It was an innocent statement . . .

Maggie, share with everyone why your dad is so great!

that showed up in my Facebook notifications this morning, but it set me on a downward spiral toward near despair. My dad was great . . . when I was a little kid he was my entire world, but he has been gone for 35 years. This is another year I won't get to celebrate Father's Day by picking out some silly card, or buying him some hideous tie, or just spending time with him.

Mrangelmeg has made plans to play golf with his dad this father's day. My children have plans for mrangelmeg (but knowing that he reads this blog I will leave it at that). I can only sit with my memories. That is what brings me to near despair.

The only thing that keeps me from rocketing over that precipice into total blackness is the fact that I have another Father, one that by the mystery of the relational nature of the Blessed Trinity makes Him eternally in the role of Father. Not only is God constantly breathing me into existence; but He is at each moment lovingly bestowing on me all of thewarmth, joy. courage and strength that my earthly father did in the short time that I had with him. God's love surrounds me like a blanket, or like my earthly father's arms did when I used to cuddle safely in his lap as a child.

And if God loves me this much, then so must he have (and does) loved my earthly father. That promise of Eternal Fathering must have been granted to my dad. When dad's time down here was through, our Eternal Father drew him up to be with Him, a place where there is no more pain or suffering. A place where my dad found peace. A place where some day I will be united with him again.

So, I can draw back from that precipice and be reminded of two things: I have an Eternal Father who will always be with me; and because of that Father's promise one day I will be reunited with my dad, and I will be able to curl up in his lap again and there I will find rest.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whatever Lord!

In a great example of "when it rains it pours" literally, yesterday my car started acting really strange again and we had to take it to the mechanic to be looked at. We think it might be the transmission again, which luckily is under warranty.

Then as if my not having a car wasn't enough of a sacrifice for today, last night as mrangelmeg was changing the air filter on the heat pump something went wrong and it isn't working at all. We called the repair guys but they can't get here until tomorrow to look at it, so I am without air conditioning or a car.

But God is good, all the time. Instead of being impossibly hot today it is going to be stormy all day, so we should be cool in the house so long as we don't bake cookies or use the dryer or produce too much excess heat. And my son has the day off, so I can use his car for my errands.

I pray that both repairs will be easy, inexpensive and quick. Hey, it could happen!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day By Day

What is it we are searching for in this earthly life? That, some might say is the million dollar question, and if you ask one million people I would wager you would probably get a million different answers. I would even venture to say that if you asked a million Catholics you would probably get a million different variations of an answer.

Some Catholics would most likely go back to the old standard Baltimore Catechism answer to the question Why God made us and what we must do to gain happiness in heaven? To be honest, there is nothing at all wrong with those answers, they are just, wading pool answers. They answer the question thoroughly, but you really only get your feet wet.

The part of the equation I am interested in at this particular time in my life is the knowing, loving and serving God part of that answer. If I am to be all in all to God in this present life how do I go about doing that?

I want to give my all in all to God and God alone, but my sinful self gets in the way time and time again. I said as much to my spiritual director just last month after I had spent some time recently going over nearly 25 years of old journals and realizing that I have continually, almost habitually been dealing with the same darn sins over and over again. Why is it that I can't seem to gain mastery over those particular demons? Fr. reassured me that those were my demons, and God had chosen them for my perfection, but he also suggested that I might do well to take a look at some tools to help me become aware of my own motivations. Perhaps, if I am aware of why I do what it is I do I will be less inclined to slip into those old patterns again and again.

So, it was with Fr.'s blessing that I went to a workshop on the Enneagram. There is a lot of information and history involved in this process than I can list here, but suffice it to say that Enneagram is simply a way to look at how we as humans learn to cope with the world around us. People fall into nine "types" based upon how they cope with stresses in their lives. After you become aware of how you react to stress, you can learn to move toward the best, instead of the worst traits to cope with that stress. To say that it was an amazingly eye opening day would be an understatement.

After listening to the descriptors of all nine types I determined without question that I am a #7 on the Enneagram. The Enthusiast.

Sevens have anxiety about their inner world. There are feelings of pain, loss, deprivation, and general anxiety that Sevens would like to stay clear of as much as possible. To cope with these feelings, Sevens keep their minds occupied with exciting possibilities and options— as long as they have something stimulating to anticipate, Sevens feel that they can distract themselves from their fears. Sevens, in most cases, do not stop merely at thinking about these options, however. As much as possible they attempt to actually do as many of their options as they can. Thus, Sevens can be found staying on the go, pursuing one experience after another, and keeping themselves entertained and engaged with their many ideas and activities.

This pretty much explains me. I love starting projects, but I rarely ever finish them unless there is a set deadline. I constantly move from one activity to the next and get distracted very easily.

This is true even in prayer, which explains (for example) why certain forms of prayer have always been a challenge for me, anything with multiple distractors (such as praying the rosary in a group of people, where different voices are speaking at differing speeds) is extremely hard for me to maintain my focus. The same can be said for Liturgy of the Hours in a group. I much rather prefer to pray by myself, where I can control the speed and the cadence to my liking.
I realize that is almost and oxymoron in terms of true Liturgy for me to want to pray by myself, but to realize that my struggle internal and not simply boredom gives me great peace.

Now when I go to communal prayer I can realize that to offer up my struggle and join in the community is gift, and not come away feeling frustrated because of the distraction I felt at prayer.

I also learned much more about why I fall into other more personal sins, but those I think I will keep to myself. But the entire day gave me much to meditate upon and much to thank God for and much, much, much to take to Spiritual Direction in a few weeks when I return to my wise director and thank him for the nudge.

I believe that this truly is a way to see myself as God sees me: in the light of his compassionate love, so that I can accept the things I cannot change, and change the things I can. The wisdom comes in knowing the difference.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Mystic Monday: Amma Theodora -- Lover of Souls

Today dear children we will return to the desert to visit with a mystical woman who was revered by even the Desert Fathers for her counsel. Amma Theodora was the wife of a tribune. She sought the way of humility as the pathway to perfection.
Here are a few pieces of wisdom from Amma Theodora:
It is good to live in peace , for the wise man practices perpetual prayer. It is truly a great thing for a virgin or monk to live in peace, especially the younger ones. However you should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie (sloth and depression) faintheartedness and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakness of the knees and all the members. It dissipates the strength of the soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations fall away. There was in fact a monk who was seized by cold and fever every time he began to pray, and he suffered from headaches, too. In this condition, he said to himself, "I am ill, and near to death; so now I will get up before I die and pray." By reasoning in this way, he did violence to himself and prayed. When he finished , the fever abated also. So by reasoning in this way, the brother resisted, and prayed and was able to conquer his thoughts.
A devout man happened to be insulted by someone and he said to him, "I could say as much to you, but the commandment of God keeps my mouth shut."
Give the body discipline and you will see that the body is for Him who made it.
If you are wondering why of all her saying I chose these, it is because I needed to hear these particular few for my own spiritual nourishment and growth.
Amma Theodora knew what she was talking about. In particular I am going to write a post in the next few days on the topic of my own battle with accidie, when I get some time to sit down and collect my thoughts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Glitch Fixed, I Think

You may or may not have noticed, that Internet Explorer was showing an error message of Opperation Aborted and then closing down the page after a few seconds when you accessed my blog. After an entirely frustrating day of eliminating almost everything from the sidebar and then reading the forum I found out that the problem is a glitch in the followers widget and had to remove that from my sidebar.

I appologize to all of my followers, I hope that doesn't do anything to your ability to see my posts in your blogfeeds, but it was driving me nuts and was making it difficult for anyone to simply go to my blog address and access the blog.

Hopefully this will have fixed the problem, and if I hear from them that they have fixed the followers widget I will replace it on my sidebar. Thanks again to my followers.


Practice . . .

is one of those words that no one likes to hear, or think about. It has such bad connotations. Boring drills and repetitive mind numbing action of doing the same things over and over again thousands upon thousands of times. Perhaps that is why the word practice is so foreign to our understanding of the spiritual life. We don't want our spiritual life to be boring or repetitive or the same thing done over and over again.

Yet, the same principle that makes a golfer wanting to hone his short game hit thousands of chip shots day after day, is the same principle that could be applied to anyone who wants to grow in the spiritual life as well. If there isn't some form of practice going on there can be no growth.

Of course, I could take my golf clubs and hit chip shots all day every day, and I will never be as skilled at golf as Tiger Woods, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try. And just because Tiger Woods has so much innate talent doesn't mean he just sits back and rests without any practice at all. In fact just this year in an interview he stated that since his recent knee surgery he has been able to spend much more time practicing and he has noticed a decided improvement in the quality of his game because he was spending more time on the range and the practice green. Imagine that, Tiger Woods admitting that his game improves when he has more time to practice.

So, we should spend time in the practice of the spiritual life. But how? That is something that is very individual. We tend to know what we need to work on. How you practice your spiritual discipline is a very individual pursuit. There are a few standard fundamentals that will help anyone grow in the spiritual discipline if we practice them:

Immerse yourself in the Word -- Pick up your bible and read a few chapters every day. You can actually get through the entire bible in less than a year if you make a practice of reading a bit each day. Find a translation that you like and understand (there are many, some more conversational than others, some more flowery) Don't worry about the boring, listy parts, skim them quickly or just skip over them: I had a Professor in Gradual School who gave us all a list entitled Reading the bible without having to read any of the boring bits, and it listed which specific repetitive chapters to skip.)

Talk to God (pray) every day --, in whatever way you feel most comfortable. For some people this will mean doing a set group of rote prayers morning and evening. For some people this will mean setting aside time for meditation or contemplation. For some people this will mean practicing the presence of God, or cultivating a lifestyle where they always feel as though they are in God's presence and are in communication with God. For some people it may mean small , sticky note, arrow (the old term for these was ejaculation) prayers throughout the day. For some people, the greatest form of daily prayer is to participate in the Liturgy of the Hours of the Church, These are a set pattern of psalms, responses and readings that all clergy and religious of the church pray every day, and can be prayed by anyone who wants to join in.

The most important thing about prayer isn't how you do it, it is that you do it.

Learn something new -- there are many ways to accomplish this, you could read spiritual readings, listen to or watch something enriching, go to lectures or to Mass or your worship service if you aren't Catholic.

You could join with a group of friends and actually study the bible you have been reading, that is a very different form of immersion, to study the word. To look at the context of the time in which it was written and the people to whom the story is speaking in that time and what that story meant for them and then what that same story means now.

You could join a group of friends for prayer and support in the Christian walk. Get together once a week to support each other, pray for each other's needs and give each other guidance and love. We all can learn something from each other if we take the time to really listen to each other.

Reach Out -- Action is part of the spiritual growth process. Every week you would be doing something for others. It doesn't have to be something grand or amazing like a mission trip to some foreign country, it might just be dropping off some canned goods at the food pantry, or stopping in at the nursing home to visit someone from your church who lives there now. Mother Teresa used to say we didn't have to do great things we just had to do small things with great joy. My prayer each morning is that God will make me aware of the people and situations that have been placed in my path that day so that I may serve the Kingdom. Then when I am faced with a chance to help someone with a heavy load at the grocery, or a few extra minutes of my time for a chat I think of that as my gift to God and not an inconvenience at all.

I think if you start practicing these simple things every day, your spiritual life will grow in amazing ways; ways you would never have imagined. God has a plan for your life, and you have to participate in that plan in the same way that Tiger Woods has to participate in the plan for his career. Think about having a spiritual life more amazing as Tiger Woods' golf career. With practice it could happen.


Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Back In Business Baby!

I went out today and bought a new computer to replace my now defunct laptop on which I did the bulk of my writing, and blogging. I hadn't realized how much I depended on the full sized computer until I was limited to the mini, which I still love for its portability, but it just doesn't cut it when you are trying to really get anything of substance done. (I may have to blame that on my totally fat fingers, but I really struggled and often had to retype the same lines over and over).

But I purchased an HP Pavilion 16.9 diagonal inch screen with DVD burner, that runs really well and I am setting up with all of my favorite settings right now.

Next I am going to load in the part of my work of fiction which I had been working on almost daily until the great fizzle of about two weeks ago. I really want to get back to working on that again at a steady clip, as well as I have some ideas for essays on prayer and spirituality that I want to work on as well.

My mind has been very fertile even if my hands have been hampered. Here's to hoping that the fertile mind hasn't turned to compost while I was trying to decide what to do.

Anyway, my two loyal readers can expect a regular schedule of Mystic Monday posts beginning on Monday, and I will try to get in at least three or four more posts a week on other topics now that I don't have to worry about my fingers getting tied in knots.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

He Understands Women

I have always liked Denis Leary as an actor. Some might say he makes some seriously flawed choices in roles, but he has done some amazing work. Check out this performance which I think is the best movie he ever made, and by the way has some of the best performances by the other actors as well. To really get to know the man you have to see this video as well, it pretty much explains everything you need to know about him. He is a darn fine comedian, warning though, the video is not for children).

Anyway, I was waiting, for hours, the other day as they worked on my car, and without any good reading material I was stuck reading "women's magazine's" but it was my lucky day, because right in the middle of one was an interview by Lindsey Palmer in Redbook May 2009 with Dennis Leary. It proved that he is as interesting in person as he is on screen.

This quote stood out for me:

Q: What is your diagnosis on why men have trouble figuring out what women want?

Men have three things on their minds at all times: sex, sandwiches, and blowing stuff up. Women on the other hand, have really complicated brains that are involved in so many emotions and intellectual curiosity. We don't match up. So ladies, if you want something, you have to spell it out for us.

You have to love a man who understands the differences between the sexes that well. Maybe that can be chalked up to the fact that he has been happily married to his wife Ann for over 20 years. Having a good wife can do that for any man. (in my not so humble opinion.)


Friday, June 05, 2009

I Thought It Was So Perfect . . .

Last week I got a new purse. I got it for free actually because I took the angelbaby to get a new outfit for her graduation from elementary school from Kohl's and got Kohl's Cash in exchange which had to be spent at Kohl's, but was like getting the purse for free because I used the Kohl's cash to pay for the purse so it didn't cost me anything extra.

I brought the purse home, a cute little Daisy Fuentes bag with only one pocket and a snap in the front. I am determined to only carry the absolute essentials in this bag so I wanted a very small purse to keep me from carrying anything I didn't absolutely need.

after a week, I still really like my purse, but the essentials just barely fit, and there is no room to spare at all. Every time I take something out or put something back I have to rearrange everything to get it closed, and I have to hang my keys on the outside with a carabiner (which I intended to do anyway for short periods, but meant to be able to put them away for longer stretches of time).

The other obvious flaw I have found is that there is no cell phone pocket. I have to wedge my cell phone into a small space between my little journal I carry and my billfold and when I get a call I have to open my purse and extract the phone to answer a call. That is really too bad.

Oh well, I should know better by now. I have written about this phenomenon before . I just hope I can live with the flaws long enough to justify having this purse even though it didn't cost me anything because I really don't think mrangelmeg will like my going off to buy a new purse in a week or two with the excuse that I didn't pay for this one. He doesn't understand how Kohl's cash works, because to him I had to pay $150 dollars (what I spent on the angelbaby's clothes) to get the "free" purse, but what does he know.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Twitter is where its @

Do you Tweet? I decided to give it a try a while back because some of my blogger friends are on twitter and it seemed like a harmless diversion. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Twitter is a social networking platform that is more like a constant stream of Facebook status updates (none of the other distracting stuff that clutters up Facebook like quizzes and games and constant junk, AND no adds which is what I like about it.)

Anyway, I have been on Twitter for about six months and for most of that time had about 15 people following my updates which were sporadic at best (maybe one or two a week if I remembered. Then about three weeks ago I stumbled upon a new app for twitter called TweetDeck which I really love and unfortunately I have it running all the time in the background of my computer and every time someone sends a twitter update my computer "tweets".

I started out just following my blogger friends like Rufus and Patrick Madrid and Adoro, and Curt Jester, but then I realized that I could follow some of my favorite celebrities. Now I follow Wil Wheaton, and Kevin Pollack and Stephen Fry and Dr Will Miller (from the Bob and Tom Show). Sadly, I even got sucked into the twittering juggernaut that is @aplusk (ashton kutcher) who has pretty close to two million followers which is really ridiculous.

Suddenly, and I am not quite sure why, but I think maybe it has something to do with adoro calling me out last Friday, I have gained nearly 30 followers in the last week! I am gaining four or five followers a day?!?!?!!????? I am humbled and chagrined at the same time. I feel compelled to say witty or profound things and I have nothing witty or profound to say. So I just keep saying what I normally say. If they follow me it is what it is.

Twitter is sometimes fun; I have had a total blast following Ethan Suplee (Randy from "My Name is Earl") and his family on their trip to England and Ireland, he is quite funny and engaging as he tweets about how his daughters are reacting to English food and culture.

Twiiter is sometimes educational: I have been pleasantly surprised that Matt Damon is interested and supports ethical stem cell research. In the past two days he has posted links to articles on how to get stem cell lines everywhere other than embryos. Go Matt!

On the other end of the spectrum, Will Wheaton is a huge hockey fan so stick by stick tweets of each play-off game have been more than I could take. The rest of his tweets are fun to follow-- usually. Thank God there is some time before Hockey season is back on again.

Oh well, if you enjoy social networking, you might want to give Twitter a try.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Speaking of Surrender

Since my previous post is about sainthood and surrender to God's Divine Will I want to share a paragraph I read today from Sacrament of the Present Moment:

. . . the cruel chisel destroys a stone with each cut. But what the stone suffers by repeated blows is no less than the shape the mason is making of it. And should a poor stone be asked "What is happening to you?", it might reply "Don't ask me. All I know is that for my part there is nothing for me to know or do , only to remain steady under the hand of my master and to love him and suffer him to work out my destiny. It is for him to know ho wto acheive this. I know neither what he is doing nor why. I only know that he is doing what is best and most perfect, and I suffer each cut of the chisel as though it were the best thing for me, even though, to tell the truth, each one is my idea of ruin, destruction and defacement. But ignoring all this, I rest content with the present moment. Tinking only of my duty to it, I submit to the work of this skillful master without caring to know what it is. . . . Let God's will be done and surrender yourself to him!

Would You Like to Become a Saint?

do you think it is possible to become a saint? There is a young man that thinks it is possible and through his Sainthood Project is willing to help anyone who wants to give it a try .

His prescription is simple, pray every day and surrender to the will of God in all things. (I said it was simple, I didn't say anything about it being easy, those are two different things.)

If you feel as though you are brave enough to take up the challenge you can find out more at his website:

Sainthood and Surrender

Monday, June 01, 2009

Mystic Monday: Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and God's Will

Today dear children we visit Holy Hildegard of Bingen, our sister in faith. Her legacy of poetry and the symphony of harmony of heaven found in her music is amazing and deeply moving. One would think that with a talent like hers she knew from the beginning that she was called to do God's will, but that was not so. In fact the power of the call was so strong that she felt totally inadequate to the task, and it scared her and humbled her. This is what she wrote about the unfolding of her calling:

But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and low opinion of myself and because of diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time a call to write, not out of stubbornness but out of humility, until weighed down by a scourge of god, I fell onto a bed of sickness.

I too struggle with my calling to be a writer. I know that I want to be a writer but it is only in the last few years that I have really felt called to write and in fact seen fruit from my writing. Each time I write something that touches someone I am so humbled that my small gift would be used in such a way. But each time my words draw someone closer to God I am reminded of Hildegard's reluctance and humility and I keep writing and sharing my work, because I do feel that God has called me to do so.

It is thought that Hildegard suffered from migraines. The symptoms she describes in her writing are the same as those of a classic migraine. This is another reason that endears her to me because I too suffer from migraines. Without my daily medication I would be prone to the most horrible attacks at unpredictable times. With my medication I am migraine free. I am blessed to live in this century and not in the eleventh century as Hildegard did.

Her music is beautiful I want to share a bit with you. If you follow this link you will see the text of a plainsong chant and then from that page you can click on a link for the sound of women singing the chant. It is so beautiful.