Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ghosts of Christmases Past

We went to Midnight Mass, and in a real departure for our family we even opened our presents before Mass so that we (meaning mrangelmeg specifically) could all sleep in this morning.   Well then, what am I doing up at quarter past why the heck am I awake?  Maybe it is the fact that unlike the last four or five years, we actually have snow this Christmas (boy have we had snow).  Maybe it is because this is the first Christmas since our oldest daughter moved so far away and she couldn't get back this year.  Maybe because this is the first Christmas since my mom died and I am really missing her.  But I am sitting here on Christmas morning and remembering absent family members and Christmases past.

We opened presents on Christmas Eve most years when I was little, because we went to Midnight Mass and we could all (meaning my dad specifically) sleep in on Christmas morning).  We always got crisp new jammies on Christmas,  they were never wrapped, but would magically appear on our beds somehow while we were eating dinner on Christmas Eve.  The Jammies were supposed to help us sleep better on that magical night.

On the occasions that we didn't open gifts on Christmas Eve,  we would still have gone to Midnight Mass, so our parents had a rule about when we were allowed to wake them to open presents in the morning.  We had to wait patiently,  or as patiently as nine anxious children could, until the streetlight out in front of our house went out.  it was then and only then that we were allowed to knock on their door and tell them the exciting news that we had already discovered;  Santa had been to our house.  

I remember waiting anxiously, sitting on the radiator by the front window in the living room willing with all my might that the light would go out.  We carried this forward for our children by telling them that they weren't allowed to wake mrangelmeg on Christmas morning until the security light in our driveway went out.  

On the sleep in mornings we were allowed to wake up any time we liked, but we were not allowed to wake or disturb our parents on Christmas morning.  We had to play with our newly received loot as quietly as possible.  This was always much easier for me, who usually got books than my brothers who got GI Joes or Rock-em Sock-em Robots or Slot Hockey games.   Inevitably, they would get really noisy.  

The lasting memory I have of those Christmases though isn't the gifts, but having the family all together.    One year, we went into Midnight Mass with just a few flakes wafting through the air, and came out an hour and a half later to a total blanket of white, that by morning was one of the worst blizzards the area had ever seen.   The snow was so deep that hardly anyone drove on the streets for days.   We lived about seven weeks from Church and the entire family, all eleven of us walked through the two feet of snow to Mass the following Sunday.  

Christmas was a time to be together.   Another of our spectacular Christmases was the year my oldest brother came back from his Naval posting to Okinawa to spend Christmas with us.  We were so happy to see him, and he decided to "share the wealth" with his military pay that year.  The very large living room seemed to be buried in gifts.  But we were so happy to have Mike back that our bountiful harvest didn't seem to matter.

Our greatest gift on Christmas was family, which isn't a surprise at all to me since the real gift of Christmas was the Christ child.   For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.  The greatest gift of all was a gift of Divine Family. It's not the Christmas presents that we love so much, it is the Christmas Presence.

I think I will call some of my siblings today. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Baking

So I spent the day baking.  For those of you who know me, you know that I really hate to cook, so this was not helping me get into the Christmas Spirit.  In fact, I think my Facebook Status today might have said Fa la la la la de freakin' da.   

In honor of everyone doing so much baking I wanted to share a post from my beloved husband mrangelmeg;  This goes back to 2005.    Enjoy:

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This all began with an inocent enough request from a friend of mine for a recipe for Persimmon Cookies from my husband's mother. The following is what she got in three email exchanges. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Mrangelmeg is a genius, and very funny, and I love him dearly.

Part I: Here is my Mom's recipe for Persimmon Cookies:

1 cup persimmon pulp 1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder)
1 cup sugar (it used to be 2 cups, but since you're so sweet, 1 cup is enough)
1/2 cup margarine or butter (Mom just uses stick margarine)
1 egg 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cloves (I asked Mom to pick one and she said she uses somewhere in between. I guess that means 3/8 of a teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup chopped walnuts (Mom had an option to substitute raisins for the walnuts. She has never put raisins in persimmon cookies, but if you want to go ahead and ruin a perfectly good batch of cookies, feel free to use raisins)
Instructions: Beat persimmon pulp thoroughly. Mix in soda. In separate bowl, cream sugar and butter/margarine, then add egg and mix thoroughly. Sift together dry ingredients and mix into creamed mixture. Combine all ingredients and drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Mom reminded me that this was for one batch and she always makes a double. She further reminded her engineer son - no fewer than three times - that in order to make a double batch, you need to double the above ingredients. Since you have the PhD, I'm only telling you once.

You can freeze persimmon cookies to enjoy later ... say when we might be back at St. Meinrad again. If you freeze them, or leave them out for a few days, they will turn from reddish-brown to almost black. They still taste as good.

Part II: Raisins and Persimmons
And, for the record, I like raisins, too ... but only in oatmeal-raisin cookies (2nd favorite), raisin bran, and raisinettes ... as God intended them to be. Raisins do not belong in persimmon cookies. I even have scriptural backing on this from the Book of Raisins found in Codex XIII from the recently discovered Nag Yerhubbi Library (the Nag Yerhubbi Library also includes "The Gospel of Trash" and "The Apochryphon of the Leaves").

A fragment of the surviving Book of Raisins text was originally interpreted as: "... thou shalt not combine the dried fruit of the vine with other fruits ... ... verily I say: excessive combining of fruits will bring about the people of the village." Of course, now we know the end of that sentence should have been translated as "The Village People."

Regardless of translation, raisins are not to be combined with persimmons. Speaking of discovering ancient religious texts, another little-known fact is that Rastafarians actually discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls and were told by the Jewish scholars of the day that God's Word could be found inside the scrolls, also known as the rolling papyrus, or more to the point ... rolling papers. And that is how they got their start.

I just heard that on Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" on the way into work this morning, so it must be true. Feel free to cite any of the above research in your coursework; and have a nice day!

Part III: Further Research

The Nag Yerhubbi writings as the Neuter-o-Canonical apocrypha (apocrypha meaning "hidden away" or secret -- so don't be surprised if even your professor hasn't heard of them). They're also sometimes referred to as the Canon-and-on-and-on-ical Scriptures.

As hidden as they may be, I'm sure that John has heard many of the Nag Yerhubbi volumes proclaimed in his household ... perhaps "The Exegesis on the Toilet Seat" being one of the most cited books. Certainly, John is familiar with the longest book, "Litany of the Honeydew," the first Chapter of which begins: "Now that you're retired, maybe you could help out some around here."

On a historical note, the scribes that copied the sacred texts would meet about once a month and painstakingly copy each letter. Some would write so hard, they would even get cramps. Of course, the Nag Yerhubbi texts were not written on scrolls, but on individual sheets of paper and bound into large books, called Codexes, as at Nag Hammadi. The blank sheets were manufactured in pad form, similar to paper pads we have today, but the Nag Yerhubbi paper was much, much larger than the pages found at Nag Hammadi. Thus, the Nag Yerhubbi scribes called their paper source the Codex Maxipad. I know a few more historical details along these lines, but enjoy sleeping indoors far too much to list them here.

Finally, the Nag Yerhubbi documents will not be hidden much longer, as the Lifetime Network plans to feature them as part of a miniseries about all Old Testament and early Christian scriptures. The first episode is being shot right now and the working title is "The Burning Bush" featuring Farrah Fawcett as a young Moses (a stretch, but this is the Lifetime Network after all). The final release title is expected to be "Torah! Torah! Torah!" which ends with Pat Morita starring in the role of Joshua as he plans the sneak attack on Jericho. The scripts for the Nag Yerhubbi segments have yet to be written, but I'm sure the Lifetime Network will portray the men as kind, caring, and sensitive (that has to be the least believable line of this entire thread).

I think that's all I can safely say about the sacred texts in the Nag Yerhubbi Library; I'm already at risk of a discovery any day now at Nag Damaggi.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Becoming a Responsible Adult

Our beautiful Autistic daughter is the only member of our family who didn't get today off from her new job.  On top of that, her County Transit bus line didn't run today so she had to have alternate transportation.  Anyone who knows anything about autism will understand how a simple change like that to her regular schedule could have been reason for a huge blow up, but she was very calm.

Dad got up and took her to work and we will pick her up when her shift is through.  As a treat we are heading to the Mall this afternoon for a little shopping.  She has earned the use of some of her hard earned wages.

Yesterday she did the dishes with only a little help from dad.  She did a wonderful job too, everything  was loaded carefully into the dishwasher (sometimes she can be a little reckless with her dish placement.)  

She has been taking her medication for allergies like clockwork ever since the Dr. told her that her eczema would not get better unless she took the medication every day.   She uses the special cream correctly as well.

Each day I see great strides in her maturity level.  Now, if only I could get her to clean her bedroom.

I know, but a mom has to have one impossible dream.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Thankful

I thought I would write this post today since I won't have much time tomorrow because I will be busy preparing a meal.

my faithful readers (all two of you) may probably remember that while I love to eat I really don't like to cook, especially big elaborate holiday meals.  Normally Mrangelmeg and I compromise by finding a really nice Thanksgiving buffet somewhere and take the whole clan out to dinner on the holiday.  I love this because I don't have to cook or clean up and everyone gets exactly what they want to eat.  The only negative is that there are no leftovers to munch on for the rest of the weekend.

This is such a pattern in our lives that when our oldest daughter was in elementary school and her class was discussing their favorite thing their mom's made for Thanksgiving dinner she actually said "I don't know,  Reservations?" with a shrug.  

Anyway, what with all of the turmoil in our lives recently I thought the least I could do for the members of my immediate family would be to suck-it-up and cook a meal for them here at home.  That way Mrangelmeg's mom can be with us and the kids can have tons of leftovers to munch on the rest of the weekend.  

Little did I know when I decided to do this though that 1) I wouldn't be able to find a fresh turkey and 2) I would be spending the night before Thanksgiving at the sleep lab getting my new CPAP machine titrated to help with a newly diagnosed sleep apnea problem.

But everything will work out.  I am sure that the frozen turkey I bought will be thawed in time  and with the help of the girls I will be able to get everything cooked in time for a wonderful meal tomorrow afternoon.

I am thankful for so many things this year.  I am thankful that most of my family is together for this holiday (only one daughter isn't living here so the rest of us will be together.   I am thankful that  Mrangelmeg's mom is healthy enough to come over and be with us,  I would have loved to have my mom with us for a holiday anytime in the last eight or nine years.   I am thankful that I have a nice new stove to cook in, the old one was a bit notional.  I am thankful that we have plenty of food to eat and a nice warm home to live in. (Especially on a rainy day like today).

So, while I think I may be crazy for deciding to cook here at home everything will work out the way it is supposed to work out.  I have faith that my family will step up and take up the slack to make sure that things get done when they need to get done and that I will get enough sleep during the night to be  rested enough to cook tomorrow.

Hey, stop laughing,  it could happen.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

De Profundis

For those of you who don't read Latin,  the title of this post is the first two lines of a psalm that is read during the Office of the dead: Psalm 130:

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD;
  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
   to my cry for mercy.
    (v 1-2)

It is one of my "go to" psalms when I am in the Dark Night,  feeling cut off from God and wondering if the Infinite Threeness  is even taking notice of little old me.    It has become even more meaningful now in my present darkness.  With the death of my mother not only am I cut off from God, but I am untethered from a connection to that grounding sense that I belong to someone here on earth.  Today I feel utterly orphaned, and it makes me profoundly sad in a de profundis way.

I used to wonder if it was something I had done that sent God away from me.  Had I been so obstinate and selfish that God had just given up on me and turned away from me as a lost cause.  Was I just too proud of my own will to be worth anything to God?

 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
   Lord, who could stand?
 But with you there is forgiveness,
   so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
(v 3-4)

I realize that I have a connection to other people, like my husband and my children,  and that they need me and I need them, but, as Fr. Bill put it this morning when he talked with me a bit after Mass,  You just don't  belong to anyone the way you belong to your parents.  

I am beginning to wonder though if my sense of longing isn't more profound because I entered the dark night long before my mother died.  I was already trying to find a way to pray that brought me consolation.  I had been. for over a year in a spiritual land where the scenery was unfamiliar.   God was trying to communicate with me, but I was struggling to decipher the new language that was now flowing in my direction.  

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
   and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
   more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.
(v 5-6)

And then mom died, who hadn't said anything meaningful to me since 2007 really, because of the prison in which she had been trapped by her disease.  But I loved her and I know that in her way she loved me.  I could go and sit with her, ore even just know that she was there and it made me feel connected.  

Not so now,  that connection has been severed.  I hear a song on the radio, or see a movie on television that she used to love, or something happens in my life and I would love to tell her about it,  but then I remember that she isn't there.  The only analogy that comes close is what it feels like when you lose a tooth,  there is a physical space that you can feel where the tooth used to be.  I can feel that space in my life where my mother used to be.  It is gaping and empty -- de profundis .

The one thing I know, in all of this is that I may be orphaned, but I am not alone.  All those other people in my life; my family and Fr. Bill and my parish family, and my friends are there because God doesn't want me to have to go through this alone.  So while I may not understand God's language in prayer, I do feel God's presence in others.  Everyone who brightens my day, or brings me comfort, is sent from God.   And while they can't take the place of my mom,  they can help me past the bad spots.  God will do the rest,  all I have to do is have faith and hope.

(Israel), put your hope in the LORD, 
   for with the LORD is unfailing love 
   and with him is full redemption. 
 He himself will redeem Israel 

   from all their sins.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

What am I Reading

Heresies of the Heart: Developing Emotional WisdomSo I am still working my way through  this wonderful book by my professor.  I am finding that to do it justice I have to read a bit more slowly than I normally devour books.

It is well worth the effort though as I am learning things about myself and why and how I react to the world around me based upon my emotions.

Next in my pile of books is one that was on my wish list, and I am happy to say I came into possession of  recently and can't wait to start reading.

This one should be equally as helpful in the whole emotional wellness,  area, and I am hoping that I will gain as much from this as I am from Ryan's book.

This was one area of our training in Spiritual Direction that I felt we needed much more than three hours to cover, so all the extra reading I can do to assist me in learning how to help others will make me better at my work with them as they tap into their own emotional responses to the world around them and by default, God's movement in the world.

I will give you an update as I continue to read.

What are you reading?  Leave me a comment and let me know.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

It Starts

Tomorrow is the first day of National Novel Writer's Month.  This is the first year since I found out about this fun idea that I actually have the time and the inclination to participate.  I have my outline for the novel I have been trying to write since the middle of Gradual School and I am going to start tomorrow and get it written.

You can follow my progress on the widget on my sidebar, which shows my word-count for each day of the challenge.  I am going to try to write each and every day and really get this thing going.

Hopefully someday you will be reading my novel on your Kindle, or in a real book form.

Hey, It could happen.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Feast of Teresa of Avila

Today is the Feast day of Teresa of Avila.  This is a famous statue of Teresa called Teresa in Ecstasy.

If you have a real interest in the spiritual life and have never read Interior Castle I would encourage you to give it a try.

I will also add the caveat that Teresa didn't really want to write this wonderful book, and it shows in the end product.   It is the most wonderfully meandering narrative.   If you can stay with her though you are rewarded with a journey through the interior life to full communion with God.

Teresa was a Saint, and a Dr. of the Church, but she was also wonderfully human.  She was a very adamant proponent of praying exactly where one is to God,  with boldness and candor.  One of my favorite of her prayers is:  "If this is the way You treat your friends, it is no wonder You have so few of them."


Happy Birthday P. G Wodehouse

In honor of P. G. Wodehouse's Birthday I am reposting this wonderful spot on the interweb.

Random Wodehouse Generator

Knock yourself out, wandering thorough some wonderfully witty Wodehouse tidbits.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

De Profundis

This article about the rescue of the Chilean Miners is absolutely amazing, but then so is our God.

Out of the Depths

How powerful prayer can be,  and what a testament to the power of everyone working together not just on the technical side but on the spiritual side as well.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

During this month where everyone is trying to bring to the forefront the importance of self examination, and early detection in the fight against breast cancer,  I feel it is also important to make people aware of all the risk factors.

There is one that even the American Cancer Society itself has tried to deny repeatedly;  the link between abortion and breast caner.  In fact one of my high school classmates had a very heated exchange on my Facebook page the other day because I tried to post some information about this link.  I believe that there is such a link because of all of the things I have read over the years, and not just because I am against abortion for moral reasons.

In 2009 the American Cancer Society finally began to soften its position, and under the weight of incontrovertible and verifiable proof, does now say that there is a link between abortion and increased risk of breast cancer.  Read the article here. 

I believe that women must understand and be aware of all risk factors in order to make informed decisions about their health choices.  


Friday, October 01, 2010

pious pap

My friend Owen has done an amazing post today for the feast of St. Therese. When you read the Flannery O'Connor remember to use your best southern accent because then it sounds so amazing!  Click on this link to read the rest of his post.

Keep up the good work Owen.

If you aren't following Owen's blog you should be.


Grief Support Just When I Need It

So, I though I was doing pretty well.  I was finding the time to get things done, and don't feel as though I am living underwater most of the time anymore (swimmers might understand that reference but it is the best metaphor for how I felt the first two or three weeks after mom died -- as though I were totally submerged in water and the rest of the world was somewhere on dry land.  I could see it and hear it but only in a diffuse, muffled way.) 

I am still taking naps every day, but to be honest I enjoy my nap time and they aren't interfering with my other commitments so I think I will continue them.

I was at a really low point one day.  It suddenly hit me that I am an orphan now, because both of my parents are dead.  Why at fifty years old that should even be a thought that would cause me any concern seemed to make my sorrow even more deep.  As I was sitting in my grief that day, I received a letter from a beautiful woman in her early 70's who was part of my Spiritual Direction Internship Cohort Group.  In the letter she reminded me that we had decided that she was my adopted mother, and while she could never take mom's place, she would gladly step in and send me the love, and motherly concern that she knew I was missing.  How carefully God orders our steps.  Her letter came that day because she had been traveling when mom died and had only that week had the time to sit down and write.  

Just this week, I have been reading a book called Availability by Robert Wicks.  I got to church a little early on Wednesday morning so I was reading in Church.  As I read a section on allowing one's self to be open to God's love, it occurred to me that I had been experiencing a really dry spell during my prayer time --a long stretch of withdrawn consolation in prayer.  It hadn't stopped me from spending my time in contemplation, I just come away feeling empty rather than refreshed or restored.  As that realization swept over me I could feel my eyes filling up with tears.  Then, Mass began and it was announced that it was the Feast of the Archangels (Michael, Raphael and Gabriel).  This day happens to be my father's feast day.  The tears really began to flow. 

Fr. Bill, our pastor must have noticed, because when I ran into him going into the parish office the next day he made a point of asking me if I was okay.  He has a way of drawing the truth out of me, (I wonder if that is so for everyone he talks with) so instead of saying "things are just fine"  I actually told him that I was still struggling a bit.  He gave me a few really great pearls of wisdom about grieving.  The most important for me at least being that walking through grief is like entering a valley.  You walk along the valley floor for a long time before you begin to climb back out of the valley on the other side. 

Another piece of wisdom came on an unrelated subject from friends in my supervision group .  When I am done crying, I will move on.  The crying has a purpose.  I have known the grace of tears,  but somehow was hard pressed to offer that grace to myself in this situation.

So, the valley may be long, and deep, and filled with suddenly flowing tears, but I know that with friends like these surrounding me I will make it to the other side and my joy will return. 


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Thoughts on Recent Events in My Life

 I haven't written a blog post in a month. In that month a lot has happened.  On August 23rd, my mother slipped from her earthly prison and went to be with dad forever.  I am still trying to fathom all of the subtleties of what it means that I have become an orphan.   It helps to think that mom and dad are together again, both here and in heaven: their earthly remains are united forever in a shared grave with one headstone -- mom's info will be Carved on the back with the phrase: Loving parents together forever.

We also began the tedious job of repainting the inside of our house,something we hadn't done since we moved here in 1997. I know my limitations, so we have someone else doing the actual painting. I just get to choose the colors. Mranglmeg is a bit scared though, because all those white walls are disappearing under a much more vibrant color palate. In the cans he just shakes his head, but once the color goes up on the wall he begins to see my vision or at least is resigned to let me choose because it just doesn't matter to him.

My new career as a spiritual director is beginning to gain ground. I have been seeing new prospective directees and growing my "client base" by leaps in the past month. With each new contact I am humbled at the special place my work takes me in people's lives.  I hope that I can always remember that it is the Holy Spirit that is the true director, and I am in the sacred position of being the eyes and ears and voice to help those who come to me see how The Spirit is moving in their lives.

I haven't had much time for writing, considering the month I have had, but I do have ideas for two new projects I want to start as soon as I get some other things off of my "clipboard of fun.  One is directly related to losing my mother, and a statement that a dear friend from my Spiritual Direction Internship made that five of us from this class had all lost our mothers this calendar year.

I also haven't had much time to knit, and I have a few projects backed up.  I think I need to set aside some time to knit each day because knitting keeps me grounded and helps me clear my mind.  It is such a spiritual practice for me.  Going without it is like going without my evening prayers.

I am taking a much needed trip to St. Meinrad weekend after next for a short mini-retreat.  I just want to get away and lose myself on "The Holy Hill" and find my center again.  Maybe I will even get to run into a few friends as well.

Hopefully, now that things are a bit back to normal I will be able to blog on a slightly more regular basis.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For What Its Worth: Thoughts on Bucket Lists

A colleague of my devoted husband's is living with a debilitating bout of cancer and struggling to maintain as normal a life as possible as he works his way through the treatment process.  Just this week in his weekly email update to his co-workers he mentioned that someone told him that if he had anything on his bucket list he should consider not putting them off.  I have been thinking about that statement all day

It made me think about my parents as an example.  They used to talk about how for one of their anniversaries they would go to France because that is where my mom's parents had come from.  They used to dream about how great that trip would be.  But then my dad got really sick with a brain tumor.  My mom went on that trip to France for her 30th anniversary, but she went without my father who had died years before she finally went.

It has really begun to bother me.  I don't want to think that the only reason that my husband and I are getting to do the amazing things we have always talked about doing, or are getting that fun toy we have always wanted to own is because one of us is dealing with or has just survived a life threatening illness. 

I don't want to call it my bucket list anymore.  I want to pick something really amazing that my husband and I have always wanted to do, or that and we have wanted to have;  or pick a place we have wanted to travel and fit them into our schedule and our budget now instead of waiting until it is too late or until we have some fear that drives us to do them.  Won't we enjoy them more this way?

For starters, I want my husband to plan an amazing golf vacation with his dad while they still both enjoy playing golf.  


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Days of Summer Meme

Ironic Catholic tagged me (sorry it took so long to catch up)

I am supposed to list my favorite devotions:  in no specific order:

Eucharistic Adoration

Lectio Devina

Centering Prayer


Intercessory Prayer

I tag

Suzanne's Shorelines
Taking it One Step at a Time
The Long Journey Into the Light


Monday, August 09, 2010

RIP Patricia Neal: A Woman of Courage and Strength

Patricia Neal died yesterday of lung cancer.  She was an award winning actress, and a mother who suffered through the loss of one child and the disability of another child.  She had a series of strokes from which she had an almost miraculous recovery after long rehabilitation.  She had a well publicized affair with Gary Cooper very early in her career and became pregnant.  They decided to abort the baby because Mr. Cooper was married and they wanted to avoid the scandal involved if she had carried the baby to term. 

Years later, it was Gary Cooper's daughter Maria, who through her friendship with Ms. Neal brought her back to the practice of her faith, and a sense of peace about the trouble in her life.

When asked once by a priest, if there was anything she could go back and redo, this was her response:

"Father, alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for my child. And if there is one thing I wish I had the courage to do over in my life, I wish I had the courage to have that baby."

She went on in her later life to become a very vocal pro-life advocate, talking to young women from her own experience as someone who had been in their shoes and asking them to think carefully about the life of their child and the impact that their decision would have on the rest of their lives. 

Read the complete article here.

She was a great actress, but her voice as an advocate for the unborn is what will be missed the most.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Did You See What I Saw?

We watched the movie:  "The Invention of Lying"  the other night. It was ultimately intended as a comedy but I think it was also intended as an attack at organized religion and any belief in God at all.   Spoiler alert:  if you haven't yet seen the movie there are a few plot points revealed in the next few paragraphs.

 The people live in a world where not only do they always speak the truth, but they also must be brutally honest and have no filtering mechanism whatsoever.  In other words they say exactly what is on their minds in a very unvarnished way.  Then one man inadvertently discoverers that he can lie and because no one else does people believe what he says.  He begins to lie to make the world better for himself, creating a world the way he wants it to be.

When he visits his mother in the hospital and her Dr. has informed her that she will most likely die that day and it will be all over. The son panics and tells his mom whatever he can think of about an afterlife that he thinks will make her happy as she dies, and the Dr and Nurses hear him.   When word gets out that he knows what happens after you die he has to explain how he knows so he makes up a reason for how he came to know this information and what it all means.  No matter how simple the message he was trying to impart, people kept twisting it or hearing what they wanted to hear or just jumbling it into a huge mess, so he kept having to add more and more detail

It was really interesting to me as a commentary on the difficult task of the theologian.  Theologians have the task of creating apprehension of the ineffable.  They try to keep their explanations simple, but just like the man in the movie, no matter how simply they try, people hear what they want to hear, or get the message muddled.  The theologian thinks his message is very clear yet the hearers can't or won't hear it as clearly as he presents it.

Or maybe I was just projecting my own frustrations at trying to write simple essays on theology into this little film. 

Why don't you see the movie and tell me what you think.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Praise The Lord for Answered Prayers

My Beautiful Autistic Daughter has been trying with all of her might to find a job for the three years since she graduated from high school.  She only wanted a part time job, nothing fancy or career oriented, just something that would give her a little pocket money and  a sense of accomplishment as she attempted to work through some courses at the local Community College. 

She has had so many disappointments in the past two three years,  I can't tell you.  One store here in town wouldn't consider her for a stock person job because she might have to talk to shoppers and they were afraid she wouldn't be able to do that.  In all the times I have shopped there I have never had a stock person talk to me, (and when she worked for a short time at the IU bookstore as stock help she was wonderful about helping students find the books they needed, so what joke that the other place wouldn't give her a chance).   Most of the other places took one look at the way she paces and doesn't make eye contact and wouldn't even give her an interview beyond allowing her to fill out an application. 

Yesterday she was offered a job with the IU Libraries, which is the perfect position for her.  She can work on her own, she has volunteered in a library setting for years and doesn't need much training, and  she did a trial run there in January for a month to prove to them that she could hold her own.

Thanks to laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act,  people like my daughter can find meaningful employment.    All they want is a chance to prove that they can do the job just as well as anyone else. 

It isn't lost on me that her job offer came on the anniversary of this groundbreaking legislation.

Thank you to all of my friends who have been praying for this for so long.  We knew it would happen if we waited long enough, but it didn't keep us from getting discouraged as the months kept going by without any sign of movement in her direction.

This just proves that God is faithful, and God's time is perfect.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Liturgy Transcends

I had a moment today at daily mass.  Somewhere between the Gospel reading and receiving communion I became overwhelmed with emotion.  

At one point I was caught up in an anamnetic euphoria at the thought of how infinite the cloud of witness was that were surrounding me.  Perhaps because Father had chosen the wonderfully name dropping Eucharistic Prayer 1 I my mind's eye began to see the altar space fill up with all those who had gone before at the table of the Lord; among them the personal witness of my grandparents, and my father and the children that were lost to me through miscarriages who have joined the Church Triumphant.  I felt so totally wrapped in love as the words of the prayer wove through this reverie. 

As we drew close to reception of Communion, I had a quantum leap in my understanding of how we all become the Body of Christ through the reception of The Body of Christ in the Eucharist which unites us in a way that is so much more cosmic that it transcended and transported me into that Cloud of Unknowing.   As I walked back from receiving I was uncontrollably racked with sobs of joy, tears streaming down my face.

When the Mass had ended, I left my parish community feeling such love that I had to stop and thank Father.  Not knowing exactly what to thank him for I decided that thanking him for his homily (on not being judgemental) would be great.  It was a great homily, but it would be silly to thank him for a transcendent experience.  He was so humble he couldn't even accept thanks for the homilette, as he called it, because he was simply trying to work on his own stuff.

I am so glad that I had this experience, but I'm not gonna lie, I'm hoping that it doesn't become a regular occurrence.  I don't think I could handle crying at every Mass.  Oh well, maybe I should start carrying tissue just in case.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prophetic Letter

This letter was written by a parish priest in November of 2008.   Those who voted for social justice over life are beginning to reap what they sowed.  He is pretty spot on in his predictions of how things would unfold.

Pastor’s Corner 11-9-08

Brothers and Sisters,

For most people this week, the presidential election was first and foremost in mind. As the pastor of the souls of this parish, for whom I will have to give an account to the good God, it is important to put before you a few observations. Voting in a democracy is very serious business. It is a sacred duty and the exercise of power that can have far reaching consequences for our lives and the lives of others.

A majority of Americans, including those who identify themselves as Catholic (54% if the exit polls are correct), chose to elect our new President. The election of this candidate to the presidency will have far reaching consequences. Our Lord Jesus tells us to judge a tree by its fruit. A good tree produces good fruit, a bad tree bad fruit. I would urge us a rational persons to look beyond the smile and mesmerizing words and pay attention to the deeds – these will show what kind of president we will have.

In my view as a priest, scholar and professor, never before has the Culture of Death been given so much power in this country. Our new president is committed to promoting and protecting with law intrinsically evil acts, acts that are never justified and should never be done by a rational person. The fruit of this conviction is that he is committed to creating and ratifying unjust laws. The clearest deed that will reveal this truth is when he signs the ‘Freedom of Choice Act’ into law, which was one of his campaign promises. This legislation will virtually abolish ANY restrictions on abortion that exist now. This legislation will result in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent children. The killing of the innocent is a sin that cries out to Heaven for justice (Gen. 4:10). Those who voted for this president will now share in the indirect responsibility and guilt for these killings. Such is the serious nature of voting.

But I Voted For Social Justice Issues

Those who voted for him may respond that their vote was not based on his pro-abortion stance but other social issues. The response I gave in a previous homily is that clearly and logically this election did not involve a situation of ‘proportionate reason’ mentioned in the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship. The issues of quality of life come into play only when candidates vying for office are equal on the issues dealing with life itself.

My Predictions

The ‘Freedom of Choice Act’, and other unjust legislation like it that will likely be proposed, also has the potential to force the Church out of health care. The Church, as the bearer of the Gospel of Life, will refuse to take part in committing intrinsically evil acts. The names like Providence, St. Vincent, Sacred Heart may remain on the outside of the hospitals, but their internal policies may no longer meaningfully reflect the teachings of Christ and His Church. Thus the legislation would spell disaster for the poor and will create a huge societal problem since the Church is one of the major providers of health care in the country, especially to the poor. Moreover, if the Church is not providing health care, then those with terminal illness and those who do not seem to have a sufficient ‘quality of life’ will lose their last protection from those who will want to kill them to save health care dollars – still more innocent lives lost.

Some may be reading this thinking that I’m being overly dramatic, that I’m over reacting. I would ask you to pay attention to the fruit; pay attention to actions and deeds and not the smile or soothing words. Beneath the smile and words is one who has already identified himself through his actions that he is against Christ and His Church on fundamental, non-negotiable issues.

The Coming Tribulation

For those followers of Christ who are serious about following Him understand that we may be entering a very difficult and trying period of history. The Church has had such times in the past and will again have them in the future. In the late 1990s, then Cardinal Ratzinger commented that he thought the Church was entering a period of trial, a time when the Church was to be more of a persecuted Church, a time when it would be most costly to follow Jesus, and thus a time when many of those who identify themselves as Catholic will fall away. Now he is Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St. Peter and our chief Shepherd. It will become increasingly evident as the years pass whether he is a prophet. Personally, I believe him to be right. In my prayer over the past few years, I have sensed the same thing. It may take many years for it to come into full view, but with this ascendency of the Culture of Death we may see the beginnings of it in the next few years.

Be Prepared! Seek Mercy!

And so as the pastor of your souls and as your spiritual father, I urge you to prepare yourselves spiritually, through prayer, fasting, virtuous living and most of all faith, hope and love, for what is to come. Let us recommit ourselves in joy to protect and cherish the weak and vulnerable among us. If you are one who cast your vote for our new president, I urge you to seek the mercy of Jesus through the Sacrament of Confession that you may be absolved from the great evil this president says he will do. Jesus Christ has already definitively broken the power of evil and death. He will never abandon us or the world. He may be asking the members of His Body to have a deeper share with Him in the Cross, that the world might be saved.

Be A Saint!

We do not have to be afraid. We did not choose to live in these times, but He chose us to live in these times (In. 15:16) – that is a comforting truth. It is in times of trial that the members of Christ shine more brightly. St. Paul tells us as he told the Philippians, ‘Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14). Now is the time for saints! We stand with Our Lord Jesus and His angels and saints and will bring down the Culture of Death through the might of the divine love because with St. Paul we can say, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. John Cihak

 Just in the past week we have seen tax funds funnelled to Pennsylvania to fund abortions under the Obamacare Health Program. (something we were promised by the President was off the table).  We are seeing the beginnings of dismantling of the Catholic Health Care system due to the forcing of the abortion agenda on Catholic hospitals (either they will provide abortions or they will have to close) .  Fr. Cihak's predictions are coming true. 
Fast and pray.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Lady of the Desert

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting to worship with new communities.  I love being part of a universal church where I am welcome wherever I go, and I can see how other people celebrate Liturgy. 

We had the distinct pleasure today to worship with an amazingly dynamic Catholic community on the Base at NAWS China Lake, California.  They call themselves Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Community and they worship in the  All Faith Chapel on the base.  

This little community is a very vibrant one, led by a retired Navy chaplain Fr.  James Dowds. C. Ss. R.  Fr Dowds was charming and relatable and had a wonderful singing voice.  Someone told us that when he first came to the chapel he did all of the music ministry himself, because to him a Mass without music was unthinkable. 

The community while small, seems to be very active, with daily Mass and music and religious education ministries as well as other outreaches going on all year.

In fact the chapel on the base is so busy that the 9:00 a.m. Mass is on a time constraint in that the Protestant Community has a worship service that begins at 10:00 a.m. so we Catholics have to get done with Mass and clear out so that our brothers and sisters in faith can begin to prepare for their service. 

Today we were lucky enough to be gifted with a musical selection from the protestant community bell choir during communion (I think it was probably their practice session for their service).  How great is it that the communities that share the worship space feel that collegial about sharing their gifts.  I also watched as the Protestant minister came over to retrieve the wireless microphone from Fr. at our Coffee and donuts so that he could use it at their service.  (Fr was still in his vestments when he came over to share coffee and donuts with us).

I will take back a few lessons about Liturgy from this little community of faith that I will be able to bring to my work with the Liturgy committee at my own parish. 


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Young Adult Spirituality: Help Is On the Way!!!!

I am so excited to announce that my friend Fr. Mark Mossa SJ has a book on spirituality for young adults that he has been working on for a long time that is available for pre-order from Amazon.   I can assure you that this book will be worth the cost, and a great help to any young adult and anyone who works with young adults. I read a few of the chapters very early in the process and was very impressed.

Please consider placing your pre-order now for delivery in August for all the young adults and young adults ministers you know.

While you are waiting for the book to arrive, Fr. Mark has a website set up:

Spoiler Alert  filled with fun posts and extra links that you can use while you are waiting.  btw: I added the website to my blogroll on my sidebar.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Rabid Fandom

I am finding that in the aftermath of the Lost finale last night there are many on the social network sights that are inconsolable or are not taking well to being teased for their attachment to a show that I never quite got in its six year run.  Fans of Lost show it a reverence that is a bit bizarre in my book and are bereft that it is gone. 

Don't get me wrong, I love television. I especially love good writing, and was very upset when some of my favorite shows were cancelled, (I actually wrote to the network to try to get them to reconsider the cancellation of Joan of Arcadia), but I have never been one to analyze an end of show episode the way these folks have.  It is almost spooky.  I made what I thought was a harmless joke as a comment on one person's sight and he lashed back at me and called me intolerant for mocking his love of the show.

I wonder if these same fans are upset with Jimmy Kimmel for his series of  Lost the"alternate endings" one of which I hear includes a surprise appearance by Bob Newhart.  I didn't see those either, but I bet they were funny even if you hadn't ever seen the show. 

Maybe I have a different perspective on the whole thing because I am a writer myself and I realize that all of the things these people are hotly debating are just stuff that somebody made up (as my husband says).   In the grand scheme of things it just doesn't matter.   Tomorrow, or next week, or next season a new show will come around and people will like it or they will find it oddly familiar in style.  Then they will notice that the  people who wrote for the show they were crying over the demise of last season are now writing for this new show.  Life will go on.


Friday, May 14, 2010

A Good Read

I have it on good authority that this book is really good.  I am not just saying this because the author happens to be one of my absolute favorite Grad School professors. 

Ryan was our Pastoral Ministry professor at St. Meinrad.  He is a Psychologist who graduated from West Point. He is the most soft spoken yet intimidating man (I am only half joking here) I have ever met.  He taught me so much about myself and how to be a good minister to others in the time I was in his class that I can never thank him enough.  He also made me want to be a better writer by making me cry, but that is another story for another day.  He continually encourages me to write and share my gift of writing .

His writing is very engaging and the subject matter is very interesting.  I would encourage you to read it if you have any interest in emotional maturity. 


What I Learned From Walking 13.1 Miles

So, most of you know that I trained to walk in the Festival 500 Mini Marathon last weekend.  I finished!!! in just over 4 hours.  It was the most excruciating, amazing thing I have ever done.  I know that I would have been so much faster if I hadn't gotten sick in February and March, but I kept at it, and even though I never quite got back the speed I had built up in early February I never gave up.

I met a woman in the corral before the race and we walked the entire way together. Without her support and companionship I don't know that I would have been able to finish.  When I was out of steam she gave me what she had left, and I did the same for her. 

We had one bad patch, just after we entered the Speedway.  We made the mistake of stopping for a pit stop at what we thought was the designated place, and we waited for almost 15 minutes to use the "facilities".  It turned out that there were plenty of "potties" just past the bathrooms where we stopped.  What a waste of our time. 

Mrangelmeg ran the race and finished in an amazing time of 1:41.  I am so proud of him.  He is ready to start training for a marathon.  I will be right there to cheer him on if he does run in a marathon, but I think 13.1 is the longest distance I ever want to go.

I will admit that this was probably the best run event I have ever seen, and except for the very cold weather, was a lot of fun.  You should give it a try.

I also want to give a big shout out to all of my classmates from Terre Haute South Vigo High School class of '78  we might be 50, but we are fabulous, and still BRAVE!  Saturday proved that.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Catholics Can Learn from Kierkegaard

Of all the philosophers I read while I was studying for my MA degree, the one that I comprehended the most ( HA, the one I comprehended at all) was Soren Kierkegaard.

This article gives great insight into my understanding of how Kierkegaard viewed faith.

my favorite nugget of wisdom from the article is :

All in all, although Kierkegaard was not a Catholic, he reminds us that the monastic life is a shining example of how Catholics ought to approach their faith. Not by calling for all Catholics to take official vows or wear robes, but calling us to remember that at the heart of it all is a personal Divine Being who is worthy of and desires our simple, personal, and passionate commitment.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

This is . . . well . . . Awesome! The Only Four Chords You'll Ever Need

These guys are The Axis of Awesome, a comedy group from Australia. Warning they drop a few F-bombs, but the experience so much fun. Wish they would come to the USA.

Friday, April 23, 2010

You've Got Dragons-- Feast of St. George

Today our Calendar celebrates the feast of St. George. Patron Saint of England, and fighter of a dragon, or so the story goes.

Fr. had a really good homily about that today at the children's mass. You see, the story says that the dragon lived outside the town and the only way the townsfolk could get to their water supply was to "feed the dragon"; first sheep, but then when the sheep supply ran out they began to feed it their children. They cast lots to decide which children would be fed to the dragon.

Fr. said that the dragon was a metaphor for all the evil things that take away the good in our lives. We have to "feed the evil" and it continues to thrives so long as we feed it. It becomes more destructive and more greedy, asking more and more of us.

St. George didn't kill the dragon though. He tamed it. He told the people that there was only one way that the dragon would flee from their homeland, never to return. They had to accept Christ as their savior and be baptized, for Christ has promised that nothing that is His will ever be lost. (John 18:9). The story goes on to say that thousands were converted on that day and "the dragon" was never a problem for them ever again.

A while back one of our instructors read a children's book that made this exact point. It was called You've Got Dragons, by Katherine Cave and Nick Marland.

What are "the dragons" in your life that you must feed? If you simply turn this over to Jesus, and trust that He will protect you, can you have faith that your dragons will be tamed, and then sent away?

Something to ponder.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Prayers for Pope Benedict XVI

The Knights of Columbus have called for a Novena (nine days ) of prayers for support of Pope Benedict XVI beginning today and ending on April 19th. Each day, join us in saying the prayer below:

Lord, source of eternal life and truth,
give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit
of courage and right judgment, a spirit
of knowledge and love. By governing
with fidelity those entrusted to his care,
may he, as successor to the Apostle
Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your
Church into a sacrament of unity, love
and peace for all the world. Amen.

V/ Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
R/ May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

V/ May your hand
be upon your holy servant.
R/ And upon your son,
whom you have anointed.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…
In Solidarity With Our Holy Father
Adapted from Manual of Prayers
16000 4-10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Owl City artist on his faith

Owl City artist on his faith.

I heard Sean from the Air1 morning show read this on the air this morning and it brought tears to my eyes. These are the artists we need to support. My 13 year old daughter brightens up immediately when she hears his music come on the radio. He is truly glorifying God and sharing his love of creation through his music.

And what makes it nice from a parent's standpoint: not a single objectionable lyric in it at all.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Breaking Through

I had to write a paper for my Theology of the Trinity class that I took at St. Meinrad this semester. I was really worried about it because I have had writer's block since early last fall (as you can tell from my relative silence on my blog). I really wondered if I was going to be able to come up with anything of substance to say and tried three or four times to start an essay.

As last week moved along I really wondered if I was going to come up with anything. Then on Thursday morning I got an inspiration and sat down at my computer and came up with an introductory paragraph that actually sounded pretty good. After that, I began to put the threads in place, and I began to see a pattern emerging. As each strand of thought wove through the narrative, the piece became stronger. All the elements began to tie together in a way that had flow and resonance.

When I looked it over and moved a few paragraphs around and read through it in the finished form it actually gave me that fluttery, goose bumps feeling that I used to get when I wrote a good essay. That sort of feeling that comes from a place of awe as you read and think " did that actually come from me?" For the first time since last August I had written something I was really proud of having produced.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my joy with all of you. Hopefully, now that my writer's block is over I will be writing more on here than the short pieces I have been sporadically adding in the last few months. I am going to submit the essay I wrote for my Trinity class to Presence, the Spiritual Director's Journal and see if they will publish it. (yep, I really think it is that good.) If they do, I will post it here for you all to read.

Stay tuned, I will be writing more in the weeks to come. I have my passion for writing back.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

One To Watch

My last year at St Meinrad I had the misfortune of taking philosophy classes with a young man who was a Glenmary Missionary preparing to enter the seminary. Where I was ending my gradual school time, he was collecting enough philosophy credits so that he would be allowed to enter the seminary in the fall.

Well, a year and a half ago Aaron Wessman did just that. He now isnot only a Glenmary Missionary but also a Seminarian at St. Meinrad School of Theology and has begun to share his reflections on his seminary time and his missionary work in a blog.

You can find it here:

Cognition of a Roman Catholic Missioner

I think if you want an interesting and refreshing look at what goes on in a semianry through the eyes of a Missionary seminarian you should be reading this blog. I have added it to my sidebar.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Spread the Word Wednesday

Today is the official day of the week to spread the word about my new favorite comic strip:

If you used to like Calvin and Hobbes you will really like the wonderful adventures of Spencer and his best friend God. Spencer's family are very multi-dimensional. His parents are bemused but trying to be good examples for him and his little sister Ruby. Each week we get three new bits of what life is like for this family.

I hope you all come to enjoy it as much as I have.

Nate and Tommy are doing a really great job. but don't just take my word for it, my 13 year old daughter is a huge fan and can hardly wait until the next installment comes out.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 11

My nephew Ben is recovering slowly from the skiing accident which happened eleven days ago. He went through a really bad patch over the weekend when his lungs were infected due to a nick that happened during a procedure to place a feeding tube when he first got to the hospital. Now he is awake, breathing on his own and talking to his parents.
There is a Facebook group Praying for Ben Smith that has 613 members already of friends of Ben's and friends of ours and friends of friends all pledged to help by praying for him. This just shows the power of prayer to uphold Ben and his family in their time of need. Ben has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but with that much prayer support backing him up, he has what he needs to get stronger every day.
Thanks to all of my friends who have pledged their prayer support for my sister Jeanne and her family as they live through this precarious time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Because a Scooby Do Ending Makes Everything Better

And because I know you want more, click on the cartoon to get to the Doug Savage weblog of sticky note fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Few Reasons Why I Didn't Give up Facebook for Lent

There has been a huge push among Catholic Facebook users to give up their Facebook presence for the 40 Days of Lent as part of their Lenten Sacrifice. They see this as a way to strip away the "distraction" that Facebook may have become in their lives so that they can redirect that time toward God.

I did not join them. There are a few really important reasons why and I wish to share them with you:

Most of my extended family; all but three of my siblings, most of my nieces and nephews, my cousins, their husbands, wives, and children are all on facebook. As we have grown older and become separated geographically, Facebook is an immediate and very fun way to communicate and keep in touch with my family. I probably reply to my Cousin's daughter whom I have never met, but who is a college student in Texas every day. It is really nice that I have gotten this chance to get to know her. I would hate to give that up.

My nephew was in a skiing accident last Saturday and I have been able to ask all of my friends on Facebook to pray for him, and to connect them to his Facebook page Praying for Ben Smith where they can post prayers for him. There is such power in this for his family who are dealing with a long road to recovery. I have great friends and they are really stepping into the breach to show my sister and her family the power of Christian community on the Internet via Facebook.

I am also posting a snippet every day from the book I have chosen to use as my Lenten Reflection: Quantum Grace by Judy Cannato. The obedience of doing this every morning is helping me to stay faithful to my reflection on the book and has the ripple effect of sharing a bit with others (Catholic , non Catholic Christians, and non believers ) who are friends of mine on Facebook. To me this is a way for me to evangelize.

So, you see, I will be staying on Facebook. I will be posting daily updates about my nephew's progress as he heals of his injuries, and I will be posting my own progress as I move through the season of Lent. Oh and I will be posting responses to other people's posts in my normal, sarcastic, humorous style, because God gave me a sense of humor and I am pretty sure She doesn't want me to give that up for Lent.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What He Said!

Everyone seemed to universally love the Doritos ad at the Superbowl that depicted the "tough" little boy. Everyone thought it was hilariously funny. Well I didn't, but my objections ran much deeper than that. I was livid after seeing that commercial, and for exactly the reasons spelled out in this wonderful article by Dennis Prager.

my favorite excerpt is this:

Those who argue that the boy was just defending his mom may well be right. But that only further reinforces the point of what a dysfunctional scene the ad was portraying: A leering man, a mother dressed in a sexually provocative way, and a sexually aware child who essentially serves as man of the house at the age of five.

Read it here.

So, call me a prude if you want, but give me the Betty White ad any day of the week.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Bye Bye Bayh

from the Senate anyway.

Evan Bayh is going, going, gone baby gone from the Senate as of the end of his current term of office. Why did he decide not to run again when he had $13 Million already socked away in his reelection war chest? Maybe it was just that he took a look at what has been happening on the political landscape and decided he would rather bow out gracefully than lose, which is something he has never had to face as a political candidate in his three runs for office.

I can't say I will be sad to see him go, but this will make our Senate race all that more interesting depending on who runs as a Democrat against Dan Coates next year.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Truth Will Make You . . .


So, I was reading a few Mini Marathon training message boards over the weekend and one of them was discussing the Nike + training module which happens to be the one I use to help me track my progress when I train. There is a little computer chip in my shoe that connects wirelessly to my IPod and it keeps track of my distance and pace and stuff like that so that I don't have to think about it.

What the message board was saying was that NIKE + has a real problem with calibration though and if you aren't careful can really get off track. So just to be safe I did three- one mile calibration walks on the track at the YMCA today to calibrate my NIKE+.

The good news is that the miles were no problem at all, I wasn't winded and my IT problem in my leg didn't flair at all even when I went full out for the middle mile just to test how fast I could really go.

The bad news is that each of the miles was a little bit off; meaning when my IPod said I was done with my mile I wasn't quite done with the seventh lap on the track. so when I completed the seventh lap I had to hit the calibration button each time to make it right. The first time it was way off. The last time it was actually a little bit over a mile.

So I finally think I have it right, but with the calibration being that touchy, I wonder just how accurate it really is. It added back all of the time I thought I had gained in my per-minute splits, so maybe I am not really getting as fast as I thought I was and what I was doing was not quite walking as far as I should have been.

Oh well. now that I know that about the IPod NIKE + I will just have to be more dillegent about calibration, especially when I start training outside on the road in the spring.

Just goes to show, you keep learning new things when you start a new activity.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

It's Time to Show Your True Colors . . .

And Bleed Blue!

I may have mentioned that THE COLTS ARE IN THE SUPERBOWL on Sunday.

I am so excited I can hardly wait. I am again having the fashion dilemma of how to pair my official Jeff Saturday Jersey with dress slacks for Mass. Because I have to support my team.

I also have a huge amount of admiration for this team and the way they have acted. They don't trash talk, they are very humble about why and how they got to where they are, and they really deserve to be in this game.

Another thing that has always impressed me about this team is that they have a team of Chaplains to support the spiritual needs of the entire team, not just one guy who is a figure-head for show. I have had he privilege of meeting the Catholic Chaplain on that team, and I know that he takes his job very seriously as the "surrogate pastor" for the ten Catholic players and their families and the Catholic support staff.

You can read all about him, and his impression of the team in this article.

Fr. Pete has been blessed to have a great job doing what he loves for a team he loves.

I just hope that no one gets hurt on Sunday, and if they do their best the Colts pull out one more Victory this year and we bring that beautiful trophy home again.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wow, What She Said!

This article is a very reasoned response to the movie The Pregnancy Pact that was on Lifetime last week. I watched the movie and was impressed with the message.

The article explains why we as Catholic parents hold our children to a higher standard of moral life than society expects for people of their same age level. But it also holds us accountable for the responsibility of a constant dialogue with our children, so that they understand why the moral choices that we are asking them to make are the right choices.

One of the most powerful statements in the article is this:

The idea that these messages should be impressed on our daughters in a unique way will raise some eyebrows. Shouldn't the message be stressed equally with boys and girls? Although boys are responsible for their sexual choices, the lion’s share of the consequences of misused sexuality usually falls squarely on young women. Therefore, the girl must set the pace of the relationship, knowing that their ability to bring life into the world carries a singular responsibility. Only she can choose - a choice that begins not with whether to become a parent, but whether to become sexually active.

read the rest of the article here.

These conversations aren't easy but they must become part of our daily life with our children, so that they can understand that we know how difficult it is, but we have faith that God will give them the strength to make the right choices.

We also have to let them know that no matter what, we will always love them and support them, because like God our love comes without conditions. Besides, if we are pro-life then we love the child regardless of the circumstances of conception.

I think I'm going to go talk to my daughters.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Truth Shall Make You Free

Or in this case, the truth is scaring so called "women's rights groups." to the point that they are clamoring to get it off the air.

The truth in question is the story of the fifth pregnancy of Pam Tebow, which included a life threatening illness and drug therapy that was dangerous to the growing baby inside her. When her Dr.'s suggested that she would be better off to abort the child for her own good and the good of the possibly "damaged" child, she chose to allow the child to be born, trusting that whatever the outcome of the pregnancy, God was in control and she and her husband could handle whatever was to come. Of course, we all know the outcome was a healthy baby who grew up to be a strong Christian voice in a very secular world.

This is the story that is going to be told during a Superbowl commercial. Interesting that women's groups are calling this story one that "uses sports to divide."

Interesting (as this article states) that these same women's groups have been silent about the objectification of women that is rampant among many other Superbowl ads.

Go figure.