Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Two Pieces for You...

Hey everyone, I've got a piece over at the National Catholic Register on the Assumption.  It's funny, the pieces I sweat over, sometimes don't catch on, and the ones I don't feel quite right, sometimes turn out to be the ones people like.  I struggled with the piece on the Assumption. 

Speaking of struggles, after a long dry spell, I have a piece over at Aleteia on 5 tips if you're botching Lent.  I'll be over here drying to redone my ashes and mental sack cloth.   Thank goodness God doesn't get tired of hearing me say, "I wasn't ready.  Do-over.  I'm beginning again."  I know I do. 

A friend of mine who is not Christian asked me about Lent. She thought the fasting component fascinating.  "Do you feel yourself getting stronger?"  Nope.  Just the opposite.  What I have learned thus far this Lent, there's much to do. I need to will to do it, and I am very predisposed to be weak.

She laughed.   So did I.   Thank goodness for the mercy of Lent.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What's Epic about Sports

We've spent the past two weeks indulging ourselves, gorging our brains on the olympics.  We love seeing people show what the human person can do. 

However, the most exciting sport I've seen in recent memory, was the 5th-6th grade CYO basketball game played this past evening.  These girls never played ball before this year.  There are only eight total on the team, and over the course of the season, often one or two have been ill. (Never the same two, but often two are).   They've struggled to score.  They haven't won a game.   Sometimes, they made shots at the wrong basket. 

This evening however, they put it all together.  Everyone dribbled. Everyone passed.  Everyone tried if they didn'ts succeed, to get the ball in the hoop.  They took foul shots.  They scored 14 points.
Seeing girls who used to be afraid of the ball, take it down the court, fight for the ball when it's stollen, and maybe even steal it back, this was the victory. Yes, there were still rainbow passes, but there were also rebounds and good passes and teamwork.  It wasn't one kid, it was all of them. 
Every girl who played in that game, wanted the season to continue, not just this week but for weeks more. For a team who has lost most games 40-2, (twice) or 38 to 2, 36 to 6, or in the closest match, 32 to 8, this was the best and closest game ever. The other team won, scoring five more baskets.   

On the gym wall was a posted sign reminding everyone, "They are kids.  This is CYO. The coaches are volunteers.  The refs are humans.  This is not D-1."  I wanted to whoop.  This is CYO. These are our kids. The coaches rock.  It's not D-1. It's so much more.   Every girl walked off that court this evening taller reminding all of us, what the human can do isn't confined to the professional level. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

It's Friday, It's Lent, What are you going to eat?

Sure, you can call for a cheese pizza or find the local Knights of Columbus fish fry, but what else is on the menu when you're trying to fast/abstain?  Here are a few ideas for when you are wanting something else...Don't say I never do anything for you folks...

50.  Grilled cheese.
49.  Mac and Cheese
48.  Baked potatoes.
47.  French Onion Soup.
46. PB& J. on toast.
45. French toast.
44. Shrimp and Grits.
43. quiche
42. pancakes.
41. oatmeal.
40. Pasta with red sauce.
39. Black beans and rice.
38. Tomato soup.
37. Caprise salad
36.  Fondue.
35. Shrimp gumbo.
34. Crab cake.
33. omlette.
32. cold cereal.
31. grilled vegetables.
30. Nachos.
29. Tunafish.
28. sushi
27. red beans and rice.
26. Rissotto.
25. waffles.
24. Biscuits with butter and honey.
23. fish tacos.
22. bagels.
21. olive oil and cheese on angel hair pasta.
20. filet-o-fish. (True penance).
19. cheese quesedillas.
18. protien shakes.
17. popcorn.
16. ceasar salad with anchovies
15. clam chowder.
14. Calimari
13. lentil soup
12. French bread with butter or oil, and wine.
11. Ratatouille.
10. cheese enchilladas.
9. Eggplant parmesean
8. 7 layer dip cups
7. Mushroom burgers.
6. vegetarian grilled flat bread.
5. pumpkin bread.
4. Fruit salad.
3. Bean burritos.
2.  Grilled samon with mixed veggies and a salad.
1. fried gator. 

P.S. After all those options, we ordered cheese pizza.  Sometimes, it's just what you can do.

Returning to it

Writing is one of those professions which always demands your next trick and doesn’t look backwards.   Five hundred words a day; no skips. No excuses.  I’d done both. For the past few weeks I’d come to the lull in the day (usually at night) when there’s time I could spend writing, and hadn’t.  Dullness took over my writer’s heart and I let it.  

With that failure to practice, I’d lost a piece on the Eucharist and the real (perceived) vs. the actual (reality) which kicked around for a day teasing me.  I’d not put out words on how we need to really tackle the issue of access to fire arms as a nation and stop putting symbolism over substance in our policies and procedures, not because we can prevent every act of evil, but because we can help curb this sort of evil.    The temptation to act like a lesser creatures and not push to action, is a form of sloth.   We have to resist the temptation in the big and little to let life simply go on and not stop, reflect and respond. I knew this about the bigger world outside of my own, and the internal one.  Sloth allowed for greater creeping dullness, for less response to the whole world. 

Fortunately, I have lots of passionate people in my life, at work, on my facebook feed, and hearing and reading their responses to world events helped.  Their energy and interests helped me recognize an unhealthy detatchment and mourn all these lost stories.   As if to bring it home with a resounding "Hey Sherry, can't miss this!"  one student in a class asked me, "What's zeal mean?"  Answer, the opposite of what I'd shown.  

Sloth and Procrastination are a writer’s greatest threat.  I ran through the reasons in my head as to why I hadn’t but they were all excuses which weren’t the real reason.  Ten kids never stopped me before.  Sickness and stress didn’t stop me before. Time wasn’t always an ally either.  For the past few weeks, I’d felt drier, and ever duller. I even remarked to my husband, “I feel like salt which lost its flavor.” It felt like it wouldn’t come back.  Being in the writer world desert, I’d not dug deeper or pushed onward, I’d simply stopped and once I stopped, restarting became harder. I was ceasing to be a writer.  I’d become someone who had been for a time, if I let it continue. I didn't want to be a had been.

Lent is one of those seasons of the Church which helps me rediscover almost always the same lesson I’m refusing to learn.  I lack discipline in my will.  Fasting, in addition to allowing me the opportunity to make reparations for the damage I’ve done to the world by my own sin, fasting or rather, the discovery of how poor I am at fasting, teaches me all the ways in which I avoid noticing what I lack.   Opening the computer, I’d shut it back down again.  I'd tell myself good reasons. I’m tired.  I need rest.  Being a slave to appetite, to impulse and to time, I lost something precious. I tried to joke to myself I’m fasting from writing, but I wasn’t wanting to write and opting to surrender that desire, I was not writing and waiting for desire to take me back to it.  

Looking back at the words, I found a lot of “I’s.” in the work, hammering home where and with whom the problem lay.  I'm guessing my muse forgave me because I woke up and felt pushed until I started writing.  Pushed out of sleep, pushed out of bed, and pushed until the words came spilling out and it didn't matter what time it was, they had to be typed.   The love of words for words sake restarted.  I still needed to know why. 

Always writing to be published didn't allow for the sort of free association thinking involved in writing as play.  As writing became more work, the work of writing demanded more, and it meant I never just allowed writing to be only my thoughts, only chasing down every rabbit hole my brain opened.  I'd even been thinking about closing my blog because all the writing was "professional." 

 However, the playground of the blog allows for more randomness and is a means of maintaining the discipline of the 500 words.  It's the home for all the 500 words which don't have some other place they could go. 

And so, I begin again, so as to continue becoming.  

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Link up to Thursday's Post...

I am trying to get more disciplined in all things including posting on this dusty old blog. 

If you're having trouble getting going on your Lenten observance, here's my latest over at Catholic Mom.   Yep, old reliable Small Success Thursday still gets written, and still somehow doesn't ever get linked to on this blog until Friday or Saturday...where I talk about how Lent never pulls punches on me. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Ash Wednesday!

It's not a day of obligation, but it's still a wonderful thing to receive. 

Here's my latest at the National Catholic Register.  How to prepare for the next 40 days.

Here is one of my favorite site's write up on the common questions for Lent.
Thank you Marcel. Lent 2018.  It was written for Lent in 2014, but the information hasn't changed. 

Ash Wednesday is always dear to me.  My father died on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014.  So I consider it a feast day for my father even as we fast. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Survival Tips for Parents of Teens...

The world has skads of magazines and blogs and tips on how to manage toddlers and babies, but teenagers...all you get is to learn all you should have done and all you didn't.  I know why there isn't a book or magazine devoted to parenting teenagers.  Too much knowledge not born of personal experience might doom the human race as we know it.

However, for those intrepid souls who must either face this pending reality, or who already know the doom I speak of, read on and learn Seven Survival Tips for dealing with people aged 11-19.  You've been warned.   

7)  When you had babies and toddlers, you used a baby monitor.  You supervised your kiddo's every moment, waking and otherwise.  The kid didn't object.  The kid didn't know. Truthfully, it's not a bad plan now either.  Twitter stalking and lurking at istagram, and eliminating the internet when you want to sleep, seems to me a wise strategy.   The kid would object.  The kid doesn't know. 

6) When your kids became kids, your life revolved around meal time.  What you didn't know was, when your kids became teens, meal time became all of life.   Whatever you make, it's not enough, except when you cook everything.  Then the kids tell you, "I'm not hungry."  (Note: do not take this personally. The food will disappear in seventeen seconds instead of four, but they'll still tell you, you made too much and they weren't hungry the whole time).  When they finish, they'll say, "Is there anything left to eat?" 

5) As Mom of toddlers, you'd have paid good money to guarantee nap time.  As a Mom of teens, you'd pay good money to see your offspring awake during daylight hours. 

4) Toilet training is hard.  You cannot convince them, you can only wait them out. It's a dicy thing the first time you take them out in the world without a diaper bag. Driving lessons are hard.  Convincing yourself to steel up and let them take the wheel?  That's nerve wracking. 

3) When they were little, you planned play dates.  You knew their moms, their dads, their siblings, their dogs, everything.  Now...since a lot of teens play it close to the vest, get ready to be the go to chaperone.  You can look responsible, respectible and drive them crazy at the same time.  Bonus points if Mom and Dad go as a couple to the dance...double bonus if you dance.  Mortification city...

2) Nothing you experienced as a teenager or college student or as a young adult counts and teens don't actually want to know you were ever anything but Mom and Dad.   Your job is to listen, provide a shoulder and a milk shake when necessary.  Some day they'll want to know you had a past.  Just not now. 

1) They make your heart melt when they say, "I love you." when they're toddlers.  they make your heart swoon when you get it and they're older. 

Good luck. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Hey it's Friday. Time for an Update beyond Links...

I have two pieces to link up to for you today but I thought I'd start by saying...I'm thinking of redoing this blog because it's not so much a humor blog anymore.  It's not I've lost my sense of humor, it's that I've not found a venue for pure humor.  Instead, I'm using humor like salt on popcorn, as part of articles.   As such, I'm not posting as much purely free content. 

Over the years I've remodeled this blog to reflect the content, and even toyed with switching to wordpress.  Except when I tried, it posted every article as the same one, so that just didn't work. It was a terrifying moment for me when I thought I'd lost over 800 posts.  Imagine how I'd feel if I lost 2,585 of these things!  So I'm sticking with the platform that's served me, but it's probably time to retool the place if only to reflect the content. 

This week's Small Success Thursday  post over at Catholicmom.com is on "Being Joyful." My most recent piece at the National Catholic Register is part of the series on the Rosary.  This time, I'm trying to reflect on the Coronation of Our Lady.  My goal is to finish the remaining four (the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, the Assumption, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit), print them all up and give them as a present to John for Confirmation. (Along with a rosary natch).  I've loved having this series because it eliminated the question, "What are you going to write about?" or at least, gave me easy places to start.  The blank page without a format will prove a tad more daunting.

Perhaps I'll do the Doctors of the Church. I've already done the research, and after all, we should be more familiar with Saint Hildegard of Bingen and Saint Alphonsus Liguori than Matt Smith and David Tennant. 

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!