Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Over at Aleteia Today

April was a down month for writing, whereas March was a boom.   It evens out, but I'll try to get back to my once a week submission standard.   Enjoy today's piece on Paper for Water.  I got the pleasure of interviewing the girls and their mom and hearing their faith story of how a little thing (folding paper) helped answer a big problem, namely, the world's need for clean water.   Go read about this amazing family, and consider visiting their website and participating.  

We're supposed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give to the thirsty, something to drink.  Here's a direct means by which, you can do exactly what Jesus asks us to do if we would spend eternity with Him.   After you read the piece over at Aleteia, please consider going to visit Paper for Water.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Confirmation 2016

Last night, my daughter got confirmed. Somewhere in that mass, in between the homily and the laying on of hands, I knew as one can only know through the Holy Spirit, how much He wants to flood our lives with grace.

My daughter chose Monica as her patron saint, and a family friend she's known since she was born, as her sponsor.   We talked about the seven gifts.  If I were to describe my daughter, I would say she has fortitude, kindness, a thirst for knowledge, and the right judgment to know, talent will only take you so far, you have to will everything else.  

She didn't feel well this morning, but went to school anyway.  She pushes through suffering, as something to simply bear, rather than complain about.   She practices.  She does first and second and even third drafts.  This is a child who despite my parenting, gets how you tackle the academic world.  It's work.

I sat marveling at this person we once worried we'd break because she was so tiny.   I can think of all the forging in her life, the loss of her hair (at 4), the seemingly at the time permanent crossing of her eyes (at 8), not being up to speed in reading when she compared herself to her peers or her siblings. (9).

I know she stressed about her weight, she stressed when her siblings teased her, I know she stressed when friends left the school.  I know when she cried and cried hard, but didn't curse her fate.  She pushed all the harder.   Her sufferings, though seemingly small, could have made her smaller still.  They didn't. They made her kind.  

If there's a motto to my daughter's life, it is "There's a way.  There's always a way.  I just have to keep looking."   She never lost faith, She is Faith.  

Sacraments are an outward sign of an eternal reality.   Confirmation just confirmed what we've watched growing for 14 years, a beautiful soul.  

Faith's Confirmation 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Week

Last week's Small Success Thursday is here. Mea culpa.

So much crammed into the weekend, I never had a chance to link up a post.

I wish I could say this week looked less busy, but it isn't.

Sunday I helped one daughter find a prom dress.
Tonight my 8th grade daughter gets confirmed.  That alone makes for a full week.  
Wednesday is the last CCD day, and my 4th grade daughter serving.
On Thursday, the oldest daughter flies home.
On Friday,  one son has a party/sleep over.
On Saturday, the second youngest daughter has a Ninja party, and the 8th grader is invited to a swimming party.  

So you may get next week's Small Success some time in June.  Just saying.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

There is So Much My Head Might Explode

Curt Schilling got fired for sharing a Facebook post and adding his own two cents. That is ESPN's right, they are in the perception business.  Target has made a decision to declare all bathrooms unisex. That is their right as a business.   Some will boycott ESPN and Target, others will cheer.  I don't know how we will survive the ever shifting sands of language and perception in these days.   We have protests and counter protests for everything, and never is there any peace.

However the question becomes, what is the cut off point? Can one discuss an idea not popular or discuss a moral stance not popular without being tarred, feathered and burned off the internet?   When, where and how can the public allow for diversity of thought?   Can one hold a moral position not popular, even dare to utter it or live by it, and hold a job in this century?

The internet does not care about anything but appearing righteous, and it's so easy to bandwagon pile on if you think your side is just, and the other side, either willfully malicious or intolerably ignorant. Such thinking is a lie, a lie we're facilitating every time we start to feel more cowed, more afraid of speaking because you might wind up the equivalent of North Carolina, or Curt Schilling or anyone else who dares to get out of line.  We keep finding reasons to cast stones...and feel justified in casting stones. It's great if you've got the rock in hand...but this is a bad way for society to operate.  We have to know, eventually, we will be the ones on the receiving end.

Or are we at the point where our media capacity and personal, private, religious and political positions are so threatening by their mere existence, that holding one not deemed fashionable is tantamount to a scarlet letter?  

I submit we are becoming Puritanical relativists, who aren't actually relativists.  We profess as a country to be tolerant, to not judge, but never in the history of our country, have the words "bigot," "homophobic," "racists," "misogynist" and "hater" been thrown around with more zeal and conviction.  We read silence, we see into people's motivations, we declare the souls unclean, and they are then convicted by the public, unclean.

I am old enough to remember when liberals scoffed at the simplistic moral thinking of President George W. Bush for stating, "You're either with us or against us."  Imagine!  Someone of intellect thinking everyone must agree or they're an enemy.  What a lack of nuance! What a lack of critical thinking!  We are a diverse people, with naturally diverse thoughts.  We can disagree.  We can even disagree on fundamental points, and still be neighbors, still be friends, still sit at the dinner table and enjoy each other's company.

In 2016 people are destroyed online for a tweet, for passing on a Facebook post, for holding a position 4 years ago, for donating to the wrong cause, for one wrong word, for holding something as true which overnight, someone decided they shouldn't. At some point, having litmus tests for everyone to pass that constantly change means we need to stop pretending we are a tolerant or free people.

If we're governing from a point of relativism, i.e. all religions are equal, there is no knowable truth, except that which is experiential and singular, ergo my truth and your truth are always equal even if they are different, then I would like for those who agree with this to explain how other than through force, any one moral position is superior to any other?

If we live in a world where the only truth is all truth is relative,* then the rule of law becomes the tyranny of the sand people.  We never know their numbers.  We never know what is the foundation, because it can always, always shift away.  Based on past history of all civilizations where the fundamental values are fungible, it will shift from the rule of law to the rule of majority to the rule of the powerful to the rule of one to no rule.

My issue is a process one. If we believe in Universal truths, we must have one discussion as a nation. That discussion is a question of what is good, how do we know it, and what does it look like in a society? I don't think we're having that discussion in this country at this point.   I'm not sure any leader or aspiring leader is asking any of these questions.

I ask these things knowing full well, it's a touchy subject.  It's a hard subject.  It's a real question.  I am Catholic. I can't cease to be that or I would cease to be me.  Yes. I hold to all of it.  Even when it hurts and I know it's going to, I know I must hold.  I'm also a coward.  I hate being disliked. Even the threat of it makes me afraid to write, afraid to speak, really wanting to cower in that upper room and stay there where it's safe, where I'm surrounded by people who think the same way.

However, going back to the sentence, I am a Catholic means I don't get to be safe.  

I believe we are made in God's image, all of us.  I also believe we have to do everything to heal everyone around us, and healing is never hurting one to boost the other.  God's way always raises all, while the fallen human's way frequently views all improvement of one class at the expense of another.  

I know and love, and have been taught great lessons by people with same sex attraction, people of diverse faith, no faith, and with alternative lifestyles I do not share.   I also know how hard it is to feel isolated, alone, and cut off from the rest of the world.  I may not know the experience of being a particular type of other, but I know, no one wants that pain of otherness, of isolation, of feeling cut off from the community.  Everyone (I believe this as a Universal truth), longs to be not merely tolerated but embraced and welcomed.  

Back to the little issue, of ESPN and Target and such things.

The demand for accommodation seems to be something business could manage by creating a singular unisex bathroom for use for whosoever needed to use the facilities, while still allowing for separate bathrooms to secure and protect the innocence of all children and provide privacy for all people.  

Such a solution would eliminate the pushing of any agenda on anyone at the expense of making companies actively illustrate compassion and understanding for all their customers through a physical service of shelling out the dollars (what they value most).  They wouldn't be able to pander or score cheap posturing points, they'd earn the right to say they were tolerant of diversity of people, by their works, not mere words.   That is a micro discussion of the consequences of living in a diverse society of people.

The macro discussion, of how we safeguard diversity of thought if the primary goal is diversity itself, or how we sustain freedom of speech, thought and religion if such liberties are punished by law and society itself, that conversation still needs to be held.

*(I know, it's self defeating but go with me that this is the premise we've embraced as a nation).

Monday, April 18, 2016

That's Why I'm Here in Right Field, Weeding the Dandelions

This weekend, my children kept sniping at each other.  Little words, little slights, little fights, everyone kept setting everyone off.  In an attempt to right the family ship, I kicked them all outside.  I even went outside and showed solidarity by gardening...well, weeding.   I'm not big into gardening. But I went outside and pulled up plants.  Killing plants, that's something of a specialty of mine.  

However the snips and nips kept coming. We kept stopping them, but they kept returning.  She's annoying me.  He's rude.  She called me stupid.  He took my ball.   Finally, I reached critical mass.  

My son had laid out several baseball bats and a bucket of softballs in hopes of a game.  

I went over and grabbed a ball and bat.   "I"  Wham!  Pop up to second.
Tossing another ball.  "AM." Wham! Dribbler to short.
Tossed another ball.  "SICK." Wham! Pop up to third.
Tossed another.  "Of"  Wham! Low grounder to first.
Tossed another. "My" Wham! Low grounder to in between first and second, slow hop.
Tossed another. "Family FIGHTING!" Wham!  Pop to second.
I hit two more.   They popped to the pitcher mound.  "Just stop! This is not what we're about. This isn't how we're supposed to be! This is a beautiful day.  It's gorgeous outside, and the day's being wasted with fights."  I hit two more that stumbled before reaching third and short.

I looked.  All of my children had gathered, the younger ones came in close to hug me.  The older ones looked sheepish and gathered all of the softballs.

My husband walked over and gave me a kiss and whispered, "Good speech.  I think they got it."  Then he laughed.  "Even in a full on rage, you never hit it out of the infield."  

I went back to pulling weeds.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Small Success Thursday

Come, join me over at to count your blessings for the week in Small Success Thursday. We'd love to see you there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Anna Jokes...

Joke #1)


"Yes Anna?"

"I have a joke!"


"Knock Knock!"
"Who's there?"

I made the mistake of laughing the first time.  She now says it all the time, with the punch line, "That never gets old."  

Joke #2)

Your name is Mom but it's really Sherry.  Dad's name is...well I hear you call him Marc, but I don't know for sure so I'll call him Question Mark.

Joke #3) At the grocery store:  Mom!

"Yes Anna?"
"If you see a crocodile, it's very important not to forget to say "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Working on an article, so I promised I'd post.  Thanks to Anna for the material.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Seven Quick Takes or Will She EVER blog again?

(Actually, it's now hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum, and it's very funny). 

Is it cheating to be part of a link up when you're linking to another link up? I hope not.

1.) I am sorry.  This past week, I've written loads but posted nothing.  It's been a busy week.  I have three pieces at three separate places for you that ran in the past seven days.  However, this past week we've been busy celebrating my daughter's birthday, returning to school, running all the errands that should have been done last week but didn't get done, and trying to book a flight for one daughter to go visit a college, and for another to return home from school.   Like I said, it's been...busy.

2)Add to that, a ten year old working on a talent show with her two friends and thus four days out of seven rehearsing and a seven year old potty training and it's amazing to me if I get time to brush my teeth.

So I apologize for being negligent of my blog.   It will happen again.

Here are the three pieces.

3) First, Helen Avare of Women Speak for Themselves ran a piece created from a discussion we had over emails.   Special thanks to Kat, the editor for putting it together.  WSFT is a group of women from across the country speaking out against the current mantra that birth control medication is a must, and to think otherwise is to be anti-woman.   They're supporters of the Little Sisters of the Poor in their fight against the HSS Mandate. I am a member of WSFT, and attended a workshop held by them this past February.  I was constantly impressed with the joyful brilliant strong women I met there.

4) Second, I skipped linking on Thursday because the laundry threatened to take over the house.   It's now in fourteen tamed baskets so, if you'd like to join in and count your blessings from the past week, here's Small Success Thursday at  I would really love to get the number of participants in listing success up to 100, because I know there are 100 people who read this blog (based on the counter and the followers), and I know, each of you have small successes which you aren't remembering from the past week.   Leave them in the com box, or if you have a blog, no matter how dusty, post them there and link up.   The goal of blogging is community, communication, and for me, connection.   So please, consider being a part of this weekly event.

5) Last, but not least, Aleteia has been gracious enough to host me in cyberspace yet again this week.   I'm working on another piece for them and hoping to keep my writing goal of getting a piece a week placed somewhere. Today's work is called The Point of Fasting Even When It's Not Lent.

On other case you wonder...well what's keeping you so busy?

6) Writing wise, in addition to articles, I'm working on a book, on the Doctors of the Church.  It's a load of research and takes a lot of time to write.  Say some prayers. I could use them. A publishing company expressed interest. I'm still putting together the packet for submission.

7) Also, I applied for the Catholic Relief Services Egan Journalism Fellowship for 2016.  I've linked to it so those interested in applying can do so.  The deadline is April 22 so get to work!   Why did I do this application?  Because the question that has been forming in my brain ever since Paul potty trained and I began to really think about having all my children in school, is now what?   Journalism may be part of the answer to Now What?  

Have a great weekend, and I'll try to be funny on Sunday for you.  

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If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!