Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Soap Box Time

Soap Box #1.  I didn't watch the Grammy awards, and from all reports, I only missed that they decided to drop the veil of pretending to care what we plebeians think.  Today's entertainers continue the relentless quest for how to find the underside of the bottom of the barrel of bad taste.  Miley outdid Brittany who outdid Janet, and now Katy Perry seeks to carve out her niche with all who like watching a cocktail of fire, pole dancing and Satanic references. But I'm more stunned anyone has any energy to express outrage.
How is it that the Grammy awards surprised anyone? 

I'll give the girl credit, the bar has been raised...or lowered, depending upon how you want to work that metaphor.

As the whole of the entertainment industry commits itself to triple dog daring each other how to lick and twerk enough to cause stomach upset, we grow less capable of having our sensibilities rocked. So in the interest of self preservation (I don't want to bleach my brain or eyeballs), let's just tell them, the culture is dead, they win. We'll declare ourselves outraged and shocked and
The bell rang. We're going back inside now.

Soap Box#2  After all, our culture is currently at war with anything that smacks of holding onto sanity.  Ideology has become the new American Idolatry.  There is acceptable thinking, and everyone else.  Everyone else, shut up and let the smart people govern and entertain. 

For example: the Governor of New York declared those who hold pro-life views aren't welcome in his state.  Before someone says, "You're taking it out of context...he meant." I've read what he said. I've read what he said we should think about what he said.  I've read the "context."

 Here's my response.  If someone like say, Sarah Palin said, "Those who are pro-choice should form their own state or get out." The calls for her head that haven't yet been made, would still be non stop streaming on the television.  The internet would melt from the scores of posts, tweets and blogs about the intolerant right wing.  No later back pedaling, I only meant extremist when I said that would satisfy.

So no. I'm not buying his latest non apology or the ditto he received from the new mayor of New York. They meant it.  They think it.  They believe it.  Pro-lifers, we shouldn't be part of the public square.  Besides, there aren't that many of you so just go with the flow.

Annual flash mob of Ninjas

We're gumming up the utopia that would be by daring to not agree.  

Which brings me to Soap Box Issue #3

Modern thinkers love to remember Saint Francis as the sort of patron saint of bunnies, and he loved the earth so, there's that.  But all that other stuff?  Forgettaboutit!

Any time Catholics integrate faith into the whole of life, we're just being simplistic. Probably people said that to SAINT FRANCIS too.

"Think you're taking this give everything away and follow me a bit too far Francis."

Following the arguments of those who think Catholics ought to just get over themselves and their religion and stop imposing their values on others by not wanting to pay for birth control or abortion, the general gist of it is this:

For those of you who still believe in God, trust us.  We know God understands if we need to make allowances for modern living even if you don't. They then assert there isn't anything in the bible that says "No abortion" or no "birth control."  followed by some attempt to claim there isn't any God but if there was...He/She/It/ would think like they do.

Remember I said judge not.  That's the only thing you have to do.  I didn't mean any of that other stuff.  YOLO!

One can almost hear Kathleen Sebelius pondering, "Would someone rid us of these troublesome nuns?"  Saint Thomas Beckett, pray for us.

Being Catholic means turning the other cheek. So I'm feeling a bit cheeky today, mirthful and merciful.  Turning the other cheek isn't rolling over. It's fighting back with grace, humor, joy, wit, knowledge and truth.

Our society is trying to discern do we serve the government or does the government serve us? 

If it is the former, then any who think otherwise must be brought to heel, if it is the later, than there is room for those for whom religion, faith, vocations, aren't to be kept in a box for Sunday or simply used at the soup kitchen. I could argue that people who believe in what Jesus said at the sermon on the Mount about feeding the hungry, serving the poor, caring for the sick, visiting the lonely to the point of living it are the reason for being at mass on Sunday and why you serve at a soup kitchen, they are why there is a soup kitchen.  But I'll point out instead, you won't have a society of civilized kind people if the only reason for not breaking the law is the threat of punishment, you will have martial law even if it is only done via economic lashes of the whip.  

Free people think freely, speak freely, worship freely, act freely.  They hold vigorous debate, they argue, and they stipulate that the other side may disagree without being utterly devoid of sense, sensibilities and legitimate grievances.  Memo to Laura Levites and all those who think wishing evil, violence and death upon political opponents is clever thoughtful commentary.  Stop it.  And if you can't stop yourself, I'll just say (cause I'm Southern), "Bless your heart." and then because I'm Catholic, I'll have to (and it won't easy), pray to mean it in a non ironic or sarcastic way.

Bottom line:
The State of the Union is precarious, because a nation divided against itself cannot stand, and as long as the political climate insists upon pitting right against left, religious against anyone else, man versus woman, and DNC vs. GOP and lays everything as a you're for us or against us and if you're against us, you're ignorant or evil or both, we cannot have a thriving nation, or a thriving people.  Being told you're either surrounded by ignorance and evil or that you are ignorant and/or evil, drains the public spirit, the will to go out and really address the serious pressing problems our country faces in real time. Such a lens always forces the viewer to eliminate half of the solution by dismissing any and all disagreement as made in bad faith. We can only work at our best if we are a Union, not a squabbling nation in need of counseling and in danger of divorce. 
We need to be able to have discussions about serious topics of dispute that don't translate to sound bites or become used as a sledge hammer against the other side. A reasonable government would not demand people violate their religions to satisfy a political goal. We need to recapture the beauty and genius of our government and our nation, which included limitations on power and procedures which insured culpability for action and inaction in the three branches of government, a firm belief in the fair application of rule of law, not the selected prosecution and enforcement of some or of mitigated justice based on economics, color or creed.  We need to recapture the promise this nation held, that people could make it, because we remained people free to try and free to succeed. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ten Things I learned in 22 Years of Parenting

 When I first became pregnant with our first, I suddenly understood the joke my parents made about newbie parents.  Facing what seemed like an intractable impossible unreasonable problem (toilet training, bedtime, meals), a problem that destroyed all confidence, all personal belief in one's capacity to parent, they'd say, "Welcome to the NFL" and laugh.  Translation: You just got your first real hit.  Now get back up and get out there.   It's  game time.

Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a brilliant piece, 22 Things I learned in my first ten years of parenthood.  I loved it, shared it and got to thinking.  Jen has had six kids in ten years. But she's yet to discover the next big frontier of parenting, adolescence.  So being a blogger type friend, I wanted to be a Yoda to a fellow mom of many about the more yet to come. 

Let me preface it with a big smile.  "Welcome to the NFL."

10.  None of these people will have the same drama.  Any pats on the back you might give yourself for raising rugged individuals instead of cookie cutter offspring will be offset by the frustration of never quite becoming an expert, only less of a rookie.  I'm still not sure if I prefer the struggle of a kid who won't drive or the one who really wants to.  Ditto on dating, shopping, makeup... 

9.  The world likes to pretend it has professionalized everything, but most folks haven't surrendered their entire existence to a single sport or talent.  Most families are peopled with human beings who demand a degree of reasonableness to life.  So don't break in a cold sweat when the Tiger Mom Want-a-be starts talking about how the only way to have your kid make the team in high school let alone beyond is to join the exclusive league that travels six months a year and costs more than college tuition.   I promise you haven't robbed your son or daughter of a future, you've actually allowed them the luxury of a childhood.

8.  Have boys? Get them in sports and something social.  Something that keeps them from staying home locked in their room.  It can be anything, but it has to be something.  Going outside is different than looking at the outside.  The same is true for experiencing people and events.

7.  Have girls? Get them in sports and something social. Something that keeps them from staying home locked in their room.  I don't care if they chat online, it doesn't suffice.  Rock band isn't the same as guitar lessons.   We live in a world that provides substance free substitutes for all the real things that matter. (BTW, 7 and 8 do not contradict with 9, 7 and 8 are about getting your kids to be present with and for others, 9 is about not letting a talent keep your child from being present even to themselves).

6.  Date night with your teen may seem awkward. But it's actually fun, even if you are the only one who calls it that in your head and never in print or anywhere they might see it.   Call it pizza and a movie in, or let's go get hot chocolate or want to get a pedicure or I'm making slice and bake cookies, want some? but schedule time, frittery time. 

5.  They still need hugs, playtime and opportunities to be immature.   Provide them the opportunity and the experience in abundance.  Cards, video games, football, watching Sherlock, it doesn't matter the what, what matters is the who.   

4.  Jobs.  During the summer, they need jobs.  Summer school counts, but don't limit it.  Some of the biggest growing up comes from official type real responsibilities with pay and consequences.   Some of it comes from discovering what you don't want to do the rest of your life and some comes from simply discovering you can do something you didn't know how to do before.  Daughters disassembling a bed for example, proved to be a source of pride.  Son power washing the deck, also created a sense of accomplishment.

3.  Pay attention to all the messages you are sending.  I've had to work on taking better care of my appearance, as part of teaching them to be better stewards of themselves. Teens are great at pointing out where you stumbled up to now.  "Why should I get a hair cut? You don't." earned me a trip to the beauty parlor first.

2.  The kindle, computer, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, cell phones, blackberries, laptops and ipods can create a bubble which lets everything and everyone else in the world into their lives except you.  Don't let the electronic communication tools of today create a wall of silence.   These are things they can use, but there are limits and provisos.  Follow everything and everyone.  Use your veto power.  The machines like the internet, can be and sometimes should be turned off. 

1.  There will be a time when you stare at their room, their hair, their friends, their grades, their tweets, their something, and you will wonder, how, why, what have I been doing with my life? Did none of it sink in?  Where did the baby/child I loved go and when are they coming back? When the ugliness reaches its zenith and you honestly think, they're almost 18, they're almost 18 and at that point, as no other, prayer.  Prayer and patience.  This is the birth pain/labor of raising an adult, and them fighting hard to hold onto childish things.  There will be a little something, maybe they make their bed or slip a note under the door or bring a diet coke, a sign to you, they love you for not letting them remain children, and though it admittedly seems like it will never come while you are waiting, the payoff is worth it you forget the pain.

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes Saint Peter Version

1.  The Year of Saint Peter, plus  history
For the past three years, I've used Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint generator to pick a patron.  The first year I drew Saint Valentine, significant as my daughter suffered eye issues and he happens to be the patron saint for curing blindness.  I kept him in mind whenever my daughter wore her glasses to correct a bizarre form of double vision she experienced that year. It has since, as mysteriously as it came on, disappeared.

The second year, I received a doctor of the church, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. I started with the best of intentions, read a bit about him, tried to learn how to say his full name, but life got cluttered and I dropped the ball.  I did start to read the Catechism a bit more, so I credit his influence on getting me to read more and think more about willfully applying my faith to everyday, but I'm not sure he appreciates the shout out given that I keep doing a spectacularly bad job with application.  

So this year, I thought, if I'm going to do this, perhaps I should take it more seriously.  I drew Saint Peter. Ha! I thought.  Straight to the top, I must need serious help.   I thought of how I had one in college, one about to leave, one in high school, one about to start, one in middle school, three in elementary, one at special needs and one too young to start.  I had to manage a large flock, it fit.  And yes I did need the help, as high up the ladder as I could get.

2. Growing a friendship with a saint.

How to grow this relationship with a Saint? I've done it before, though I feel as if Saint Anthony sometimes feels ours is a bit one sided.  Me asking for him to please help me find...insert anything here, and thanking him when it immediately shows up after I ask.  Today, I suspect he's a tad miffed at me.

I forgot to ask when Peter could not find his coat.  I looked for it, but I was more interested in telling my Peter he should have hung it up.  It got late and I had to take other people where they needed to go.   He eventually found it and called me for a ride, he chided me for not looking.  I told him I had, but inside, I remembered, I hadn't looked in one way, I hadn't asked.    But the result was I took Peter by himself to school.  You grow a friendship with a saint the same way you do any other relationship, by spending time, by talking and listening.  Today, I would be listening.

3.  Riding to School.

We got to hear Fr. Ricardo's talk on what it was like when Christ appeared after the crucifixion.  I'm attaching a link to his program page, but the talk for today isn't listed yet.  That being said, there isn't a bad talk he's given that I've heard.  Today however, this talk he gave which took place the week Pope Francis was tapped to be the successor of Peter, focused on Peter.  So my son Peter (who is preparing for confirmation and considering who should be his sponsor and who should be his patron saint), heard about how things always had to be a bit different for Saint Peter.  I thought the same for my son, and I know, so did he.  We did not talk the whole ride, we just listened as Fr. John told the story of Peter waiting for Jesus to drive him away, to point out how cowardly he'd been, to ask where he went when the trial and scourging and crown of thorns and carrying of the cross and crucifixion took place.   Jesus didn't do that, he offered peace.  He offered forgiveness, and the recommission of Peter, to begin again, to feed the sheep.

4.  I went back home.  It's not enough to just know his name. I've started reading Peter's writings.  A rock upon which the church is built, is not seen, it merely allows everything else to be placed on top.  A rock is a foundation, a parent is a foundation.  Good parenting, like discipleship is invisible, it is the foundation upon which everything else rests.  He also shepherds all those he is commissioning to continue the work.  This is also what a parent does.

5.  Listening to the news, shoot, turning on the television or the radio, let alone the internet, it's hard not to have one's sensibilities assaulted.  The messages in the music, never mind the commercials, constantly sings a chorus of absolute appetite, zero consequence, from puberty unto death.  It hurts because I like music, I like dancing, I like letting my children sing along, but I have to play the DJ censor not because I'm a prude but because I don't want my children singing things I would not want them saying much less doing.  I don't want them to become dulled to the beauty of sex by having it too soon, nor by being taught things they should not do nor know about.   The overexposure of our children to sex and sexuality via entertainment is like giving children fine wines with happy meals, it is a waste of all that is being offered, in favor of providing something that the children are not ready to appreciate let alone consume.  There is no upside.

But I want to have more than a classical music/disney show tunes bubble around my children.  I know some moms who close off the outside, no tv, no cable, no wi-fi, no kindle, no cell phones, no radio, nyet.  I get it. There is a temptation today to close off into a small room of like minded people, it's certainly safer than having to deal with all the tangled messages and snarls of moral kudzu that clutter our culture.   But it isn't what a follower of Christ is supposed to do.  We're supposed to engage the world, and to teach our children how to be lights in it.    How?  Locking one's self in a Catholic conclave certainly seems easier than going out and proclaiming anything not politically correct. Smarter, safer, more reasonable.  But it's not discipleship.

Saint Peter understood this fear too.  Did you see what they did to HIM?  What will they do to us?  The rational reasonable part of my brain understands the reality we live in, is not a tolerant age, and lukewarm keeps you safe and appearing reasonable, and ultimately, leaves you lost.  How does one come to know and speak truth in charity, reveal the beauty of the church to a world who only sees all limits on everything as repression and intolerance? Personally, I became acutely aware of 1) how sheepish I am and 2) how stupid, and 3) how very lost.

6.  The Wrong Alternative

The alternative absent a faith fully grounded in Christ and driven by the Holy Spirit, is the sword.  I see it on the internet, the desire to fight all these powers and principalities that demand we denounce all our values in favor of more socially acceptable norms that allow everyone to just go along. Cry Havoc!  This is the purist approach that tries to create simply a bigger bubble by bullying those who run counter to the faith.  It is the danger the Pharisees succumbed to when presented with Jesus' teachings, and the subsequent teachings of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.    

Saint Peter understands that desire too, he cut off the ear of a slave of the ones who came for Jesus.  But when you meet the enemy with a sword, you will only always meet the slaves of the enemy, and when you cut them with your sword to defend Christ, you will injure the slave's capacity to hear Christ's message and mar your own capacity to represent it.  Being a light to the world compels people to come toward you, to see better, or to carry you with them, to see where they are going.

7.  The only proper response, is the response Peter has when he first encounters Christ, and when we see him last with Christ, to drop the nets and follow. To feed the lambs, to tend the sheep, to focus on them rather than the I that also seems insatiable in its time consuming desires.  Feed the hungry, and you will be less driven by hunger.  Offer simply what you know to be true, when the opportunity presents itself.  A shepherd doesn't leave the sheep to go to find the wolves, she simply keeps her eyes vigilant for their coming.    As a final note on today's reflections on our first pope, I wasn't going to post this 7 Quick Takes.  I'd written everything up until "As" already, but I had not pushed Publish.  I didn't know if I should.  I didn't know if I wanted to, I wasn't sure if my musings added or took away, if they were light or a sword, and I didn't want to be preachy, and a bit of me felt scared to be so frank.  A silly thing really, this is a blog, it's mine, it reveals my faith, so why should I be afraid?  But I was, so I hadn't posted.

Then I turned on the radio.   Granted I'd left it on 1160 AM, the Catholic radio station that started this whole talk, but there it was again, a nun discussing Peter's response to Jesus, to drop what held him there, and follow.  So I came back to the computer, knowing I had to finish the post.   And just to make sure I didn't chicken out, a fellow blogger wrote, it's all too much, where's my retreat?  and so I thought, three minute retreat coming right up.   Well, here's the retreat offered.   Click here!  How do I find Jesus's glory, grace and truth?  To be honest, he whacks me upside the head with it daily whenever I give the least request for a sign.  Why?  Because like Saint Peter, I'm notoriously hard headed and stubborn, unyielding and hard to move.  Rocks are like that.   Have a great weekend and I hope to hear from you about whatever Saint becomes your patron for the year. I also hope Saint Peter helps me to go fishing soon. That would be fun.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What We Can Do

Many of us aren't near Washington, DC for tomorrow's march which takes place regardless of the weather at 1 o'clock.  Many of us can't go owing to work or distance, health or familial obligations, but that does not release us from bearing witness to the Gospel of life in our daily lives.  How remains the question, do we reveal ourselves to be pro-life in the everyday if not with those who can brave the cold and march from the mall to the Supreme Court tomorrow? 

1) Phone your legislators on the federal, state and local level and tell them to vote pro-life.  You can find your senators here and representatives here.

2) Pray and fast for the end of abortion.  This is a battle for souls, it will not be won without grace.  Prayer is the greatest weapon we have, and some reparations must be done for the great injuries we export daily by the culture which promotes an evil as a right.  Fasting, little penances, help bring about the turning of hearts. 

3) Visit the sick, the lonely, feed the poor, comfort the cold and the seemingly lost.  Again, pro-life isn't just about abortion, it's merely the most visible manifestation of how little we understand the infinite value of everyone.   Pro-life means everyone, all of them.  We want to want everyone in Heaven, so we must see Christ in everyone, and serve Him as such.  

4) Read what the Church really teaches in the catechism.  We cannot witness what we do not know.  It is not enough to simply be aware of the Church's position, else we may come to slip into viewing it as a merely political stance.  We must know the root, the stem, the whole of the tree of thought, Humane Vitae seems an easy place to start.   The writings of Dorthy Day and Blessed Mother Teresa also reveal the heart of the Church, grounded in both theology and the muscular participation of serving the poor.  

5) Develop a relationship with your own family, connect with all of those given to you as blood, and with your friends, see them for the gifts they are, pray for those who have died, and offer whatever alms or sacrifices you can as gifts before the blessed sacrament, before the Christ child, before the crucifixion in thanks for the infinite mercy available to all of us. 

6) Watch Bella or Juno or Give Me Shelter, and understand that the question of abortion is often one driven by fear, so become someone who offers room in the inn, for the person knocking at the door, hoping someone will welcome them.  

7) Donate clothing and necessities to a pregnancy center or even better, your time. 

8) Prayerfully consider adoption. 

9) Pray for adoptions. 

10) Subscribe to or follow lifenews, Jill Stanek or Abby Johnson, all three good sources of information about the pro-life movement and how to help stem the bloody tide of 55 million killed.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Snow Day!

This Tuesday of drudgery has been interrupted by the weather.  For those of you not in the line of 4 to 8 inches of white stuff, have fun working.  I shall gloat with my hot chocolate and warm blanket, as I sleep in tomorrow and read books until someone tells me they need to eat. 

There aren't many perks to having this thing called winter. It takes 15 extra minutes to get out the door, roads are bad, my hands get cracks from the ice and then there's the shoveling.  But, we do get snow days! 

I'm done gloating.  --I'll blog more tomorrow. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes Homesick Version

1. Maybe it's the winter, maybe it's that Mom sent me Jasper County Sausage
and Beaumont Rice.
These are the staples of my childhood, they are also part of Christmas.  It made me very happy but it also made me homesick.
    2.     Homesick for the beach...

3. and the beach house.
4. Homesick for the food
5.  But mostly, I miss Mom and Dad and all my family.
6.  So I ate a praline, watched Beaumont Stinks!
7. And felt much better after I watched this and a video of my brother and dad singing. I can't share it except to say, hearing it made everything better. 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just One Week Until National Media Mime Day

That's right, only 7 days left until all the major news networks, print, websites, radio, streaming radio, newspapers, pundits and blogs join in silent solidarity with those tiresome artists who think if they don't think it's there, it isn't, and if they think it is, well then it exists.  Funny how that invisible wall is so strong and then not, depending upon the will of the individual.

Rumors of the run on black and white stripped shirts, black leggings and clown makeup causing a mark up on prices continue to be dismissed, but the dearth of Mime supplies lend credence to the possibility that this year, participants in the Nothing Happened Today of Any Significance Whatsoever Whistle past the National Mall are united in their efforts to avoid discussion of that which must not be covered, that which must not be acknowledged, that which cannot be said.

When asked if they were going to do a report on any random amassing of crowds from all over the country on the National Mall for a 2.5 mile walk despite the traditionally frigid weather...
Guess they're practicing for the big day.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Time to Clean House and Make the Church Beautiful

It began because I'd put off housecleaning.  (It's bad for me spiritually to do this because then I get vexed by time constraints in addition to mess). I went to my two daughter's room and found a great disappointment. (Again another potential spiritual snare).  

I've been trying to help my daughters take on the responsibility of putting away their clothes. Sympathetic to the difficulty of the process, I'd sorted piles to let them put away underwear, pj's, shirts, pants and dresses, each in separate stacks.  I'd told them my expectation.  They seemed excited.  It didn't happen that afternoon.  

I'd reminded them the next morning. At 11 today, I went upstairs.  The piles have been picked over, with whatever is left, semi-destroyed.  I felt thwarted.  I felt annoyed. I felt angry.  I'd made it so simple.  They couldn't do this? Not even this?  I also felt that familiar near occasion of sin resting on my shoulder, pointing at the mess, at the casual indifference of my children to requests, to authority, to do what I'd asked.  The growl threatened to get a serious harangue going in my brain.  But I told myself, they're children. They're children, we will keep working on it and next time, I will stand and direct them to do this while I watch, to establish the expectation. I put way what was there because there's a fresh bumper crop of laundry coming this afternoon so the lesson will get taught. 

And I wondered if God ever sighs as He lays out things so simply, and still we miss the mark.  Love one another as I've loved you.  Pretty simple.  And he gives us time.  And still, after all the signs and wonders, after being fed and fed and fed, after answering prayers, after providing miracles, we're still at square one, not doing it, not paying attention to the fact we're not doing it, messing up what He laid out so neatly to make it easy, because we're busy not caring about the task or the request or the authority.  

It got me to thinking about recognized saints, people who stopped, who listened, who worked to obey, and thus trusted God's authority over their lives in a way the rest of us don't.  How many were there? The thought teased until I began a google search.  There are many conflicting sources.  One says, over 10,000.   A very thoughtful piece over at Catholic Exchange puts the probably total at somewhere between 810 and 920 which means in the whole history of the world, in the history of Catholicism, less than 1000 people have really really really paid attention.   

Not a good number.  But it made me feel a bit better about my daughters running through the laundry piles like so many fallen leaves.   The Church can't get more than 920 of  the 107,602,707,791 ever born to be saints, of which currently 1.1 billion are Catholic!  Granted, there are more that we do not know, but if there are currently  over 7.2 billion people and we make up a 7th, then I think we have an obligation to try and get that known witness number up.  

My thoughts returned to my own children as I collected papers scattered in several rooms.  The grades were inconsistent.  We're planning a family meeting, to discuss goals and how to meet them.  Several of my children have the brains to make honor roll, but they're not pushing themselves to do the harder extra work necessary to get more than what their sheer talent can manage.   We're going to talk strategies, desires, end objectives.  Not because they have to make honor roll, but because they should put their hearts into their one job they must do as children, become educated.   

Perhaps the Church needs to talk to its children about making honor roll, because that's a job we're supposed to not simply aspire to, but must seek if we are to truly live.   I don't know about you, but I'd like to see the year 2014 as the year of the surge in saints that started a century of saints.  The Church is supposed to be the full means by which we receive salvation, the method by which we may become saints.  But too long, we've lived as a Church as the Cubs or Notre Dame, coasting on past glory, content to continue just playing every year, rather than create a luminous present and eternity.  

What does it mean?

It's time to wean ourselves from milk and learn to eat meat, to be grown up in faith and in life, and to say daily the scariest best prayer I can think of, "Please Lord, let it be done to me according to your will, and let me know it."  We have to copy Mary's fiat, body, mind and soul, and live it.  The theme this year for our prayer life is "Make the Church Beautiful."  That includes the hearth, the home, the individuals, helping them discern their talents and flourish, bringing them to be better witnesses in this life, of the fuller life.

I'm going back upstairs now to clean up the house, and prepare the home for the meeting tonight.  I intend to set an agenda, and end with people signing contracts about what they are going to do.  We're going to meet again the following Friday to follow up on how the first week went.   I'll let you know.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eat Sleep Write Post today

Today, I wrote a piece inspired by an online discussion of annoying writing advice that doesn't always work.  My peeve for the day,  "Write what you know."

It's posted over at Eat Sleep Write!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Game On in the True Cold War

I love football. Maybe it's the Texan in me, but I enjoy watching no matter who is playing and in some years have even become semi-knowledgeable about specific teams.  I don't do stats or team rosters or fantasy but I can watch and debate with my husband what is a good or bad play and complain if I think a bad or non call is an issue.  (I can't watch  Notre Dame because I yell too much).  But watching pro ball, I'm safe to have around children.  I especially love the playoffs.  There's always a story, the play is fast and slick, the action strong and seldom do you get a blow out or a boring game.

And the weather can be a factor.  Like tomorrow. 

Granted most of the country (sans Florida) is in a deep freeze, but then there's Green  Bay.  

For those unaware, the playoff game tomorrow is in Green Bay and stars the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49's and temperature.  

The high tomorrow is FIVE. 

My two year old can count higher than tomorrow's forecast's top temperature.
That's five.  Five degrees! Ah Ha Ha Ha Ha!

The low for tomorrow absent the wind, i.e. if everything is serene and calm, is a balmy negative 22.  At some point, the value of spending the rest of your life with all of your fingers and toes intact comes into the equation even where playoff games are concerned. How much is my nose worth becomes more than a theoretical question, as the very real reality of vital members breaking off from being tackled in such a climate looms. 

But we're not predicted to have calm and cold as in kill you if you inhale type cold weather in Wisconsin.  It will be dark and there will be wind.

How much wind do you ask?  Enough to make it feel like -35 to -45. Now I would debate if one can feel anything when the temperature on the field is colder than the surface of Mars on some days, but let's just say that before the wind chill, it was bone crushing awful.  But Negative 35? That's somewhere between causes mass extinctions resulting in (shudder) more animated movies staring Ray Ramono  and Mr. Freeze vs. Captain Cold.  Yes, this is weather that can only create super villains.
  Hyperbole about the sheer pain of going outside for the purposes of satire and humor becomes unfeasible. 

Even I, football girl fan that I am, think this is dangerous stupid stuff. 

The playoffs perhaps ought to be given the mercy of being played on neutral warm territory so both teams need not worry about being killed on route to the Super Bowl because of the weather.  The one bonus of this artic exercise in machismo gridiron is I can watch and be spared the prospect of seeing Packer fans wearing Cheesekini's, a mercy if ever there was one. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes

  It's January 3, 2014.  How are those New Year's Resolutions going?
What were they?  Oh Yeah. I'll be posting them monthly as part of keeping me honest.  I figured it's the best way to see that some of them happen. Since some of them are specific, I'm just concentrating on the general ones here.  So it's ten quick takes.  Bonus for you!

1) Get re-certified.  (Looking into the requirements). 

2)  read a book a month.  

I've read a few chapters in the book I got for Christmas. It's a historical look at Life in Ancient Greece.  I'd love it for all the facts and history if the man's bias didn't constantly say, everything was awesome until those awful evil Christians came to power. He just jumps over the persecution and gives the impression that such a response by the state was possibly warranted, after all, look at how they abused their power once they got into position!  It makes me question the validity of the rest of his history, with some of the sweeping statements and omissions he makes.   

3)  pray the rosary if not every day, get through the cycle every week.
Did the Glorious, half way through the Luminous.  Working on it.  

4) write daily something.  Sent out a piece and wrote this post today. Check!  

5) Exercise 6 days out of 7.  

I shoveled the snow yesterday and made a Wii U Mii so I could do Wii Fit.  

6) Call my friends.  Locating cell phone, will do after this post. 

7) Play games with my kids.  Yes. And I discovered I stink at video games absent the old controllers. I don't know where B or Z or C are, and keep accidentally changing my character from Aragorn to Gimli. It's not pretty.  

8) Speaking of Pretty:  Get a haircut once every six weeks to keep myself looking polished.  Planning on that for today later once everyone's up and fed.

9) read to my children more.  Started Little House with the two girls. One's interested. One's not. 

10) get to bed on time (by 11:15).  12:15.  It wasn't 12:30.  Baby steps.   

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!