Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Have a piece at Eat Sleep Write

Friday, June 26, 2015

7 Quick Takes

1. We have a garden in the backyard.  We've planted beans.  The shoots have grown tall, lovely, full of beautiful red flowers.  They tower over the rest of the garden, and create a fantastic visual display.  However, there are no beans, only blossoms.  It takes a special sort of bee to visit and pollinate these flowers, and that one is not anywhere to be seen.   I've thought about taking a q-tip and trying to cross pollinate the bean plants, but it might damage the flowers, meaning that even if the right bee were to show up, they would be unable to make the plant germinate and bear fruit.   The plants remain a showcase of the garden, and yet, they cannot feed us. They will wither and die because they were made for a symbiotic relationship that for whatever reason, isn't happening.   (Sigh).   

2.  We cleaned out three laundry bags full of not fitting anyone clothing, just from the upstairs!   Now I have to hit the main floor and it's rather like trying to take a spiritual inventory.  You discover your sins if you start to look.  It's possible to work really hard, and discover you engage in systemic sloth.   I don't want to will to do something, so it waits until it is a galactic project.    Why do I like galactic projects?  

3.  The sacred and luminous surround us, if only we look.  

I read Facebook, I follow the news, there are people everywhere declaring their despair; over Encyclicals, over Supreme Court decisions, over actions past and present, over riots, shootings, debt, the rage and outrage, the roar and gnashing and wailing of teeth is visible.  

Being a peacemaker, means seeing both sides of the issue, not proclaiming a single victor and telling the other side, "Suck it."   Being merciful means extending charity where it is not deserved, because we would want it given when we have failed to live up to expectations, or to being what is good, true and beautiful.   Being humble, means not demanding my will, but Thy will be done.   

It's not easy, because even when a soul is in a state of grace, that "my will" will show up and say....But God didn't mean that...or God couldn't want this...and seek some form of rationalization for whatever it is to be my will, rather than "thy."  If we want a peaceful, merciful, charitable nation, we will have to start being more peaceful, (which does not mean flaccid or mellow).  If we want a more merciful nation, we will have to practice being more merciful (not chortling when our opinion is affirmed at those disappointed), and not taking glee in others' pain or comeuppance. 

It isn't easy to be charitable (giving, and being cheerful about it), but it is what we're called to be in all things and at all times.  If Saint Maximilian  Kolbe can sing songs of praise in isolation in the concentration camps at Auschwitz, then we can sing with full hearts no matter what vexes us.  So we don't have an excuse.  We'll have to will it.   That means, yes, another galactic project.   

4.   Which brings me to this song from our wedding.  I'm busy trying to find someone to transfer everything to a digital copy from our video (VHS) cassette for our 25th Anniversary. Watching the movie brings back a lot of memories.   It also stuns the children to see their father and me young.   We were...I will scan photos of us when I get done with getting a digital copy of everything...in the meantime, this is my favorite song from our wedding, even if it's not sung by those who sang it for us.  


So sing.   Sing loud.  Sing full.  

5.  But back to the mood of the nation.  What can we do?  To mend the nation? To heal the wounds of our society that seem to be constantly picked open, rather than dressed and made clean?   To make the public discourse of life, whether on the internet or in real life, a source of peace, joy and hope?  

    1) "Jesus if you will it, you can make me clean." (We need to ask).  
    2) Prayer and fasting.  (because some wrongs can only be cast off with such penance). 
    3)  Almsgiving.  (Redress for all the wrongs we've inflicted, past and present).  
(I confess, I'm not very good at fasting if diets are any indication, nor am I a great almsgiver, and even prayer life has sluffed off with the summer).   Will work on it...all of it

6.  I'm really glad I'm an adult now. I'm not sure I could take being a teenager now, with everything digitalized and immortalized.  I was stupid as a teen, so I'm glad my stupidity is not as well known as it would be if I were a teen now.

Also, none of my teens have held part time jobs, because all jobs are done through the main office, and they want only adults, never teens.   They also want full time, never part. To me, holding a job was part of being a teen, learning about working a job.   I'm sorry the first three haven't had the opportunity.  

7.    What am I reading?  The House of Brede!  It's taking a bit of discipline not to run through the pages because I like it so much.  I tend to gobble a book I like, but it shouldn't be done with this one, or I'll miss something important.   

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Small Success Thursday

Also known as ...how to eat an elephant!
Come share your triumphs from the past week over at Catholicmom.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pigs Flying at Windmills....

This week, I read where Peter Singer (famed Bio-ethicist and Princeton University professor) gave an interview with Nina Streeck in a Swiss Newspaper.

I've made no secret of my contempt for his "ethics" in the past, when his own university page states the following:

“Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do. It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents."

He's  also advocated granting personhood to some apes/chimpanzees, dolphins, and artificial intelligence (machines), while denying that same label to children like my son Paul, or like my father after Alzheimer's claimed his capacity to express his intellect.  

But today, he revealed his consistency of mind, that utilitarianism brought to its logical conclusion must reach.    

Q: If you were standing in front of a burning house, where 200 pigs and a child, and you could save either the animals or the child, what would you do?

Singer: The suffering of animals at some point so great that you should decide to free the animals and not the child. Whether this point is reached at 200 or two million animals, I do not know. But one must not be burned countless animals in order to save a child’s life.

I have to ask, (it was no where in the article), what constitutes countless?  How many pork bellies is a child's life worth? Or when does a child outweigh a pork belly in Professor Singer's calculations?   

The questions in my mind snowballed.

If a child might not be worth the cost of 200 little piggies, then would Singer advocate rescuing the babe if there were only 100 that'll do pigs trapped in the barn?

What if the burning barn held fifty prize winning some kind of pigs?  Would the child be worth saving then?

Or ten?   

What if the child had Down Syndrome, or was very young (newborn) or had any other disability and thus wasn't healthy like the pigs?   

My main beef with Professor Singer is his firm holding that some animals are more equal than others, that four legs good, two legs better, and the praise the world heaps on him for being so nuanced in his understanding of "ethics."   

Sooner or later, all of us will be weighed against whatever the going rate is for preventing the world from enjoying pulled pork, and when we don't measure up as a silk purse, we will be (by this sort of economic utilitarian thinking), worth less than a sow's ear.   

Monday, June 22, 2015

Little Things

Growing up in Texas, I never gave much thought to the confederate flag or what it meant to different people.  But if we hold to the truism as Catholics, doing little things with great love, then the South can do this little thing, and swallow its pride and take down the flag that for many symbolizes the sanctioned hatred of people based on the color of their skin.

Our country keeps trying by policy and politics, to pretend if we put all the right safeguards in place, be it on the right or the left, there will be no more pain, no more needless suffering, no more injustice. But even worse, the public discourse, be it on facebook or in real life, on the news or the radio or anywhere, reveals an undercurrent of fundamental distrust.  We've allowed ourselves to become strangers to each other, and to distrust any with whom we disagree.

I hear it in my children's discussions of how the government works (or doesn't), how we fund education (or don't), the system of taxation, the system of justice, pick something, I've heard my children and their friends express contempt for what is, on the grounds it fails to live up to its promise.  One daughter presumes socialism would be "more just," because she sees the injustice of unfettered capitalism.   It would correct the abuses of unchecked free markets, but she fails to see the abuses that would rise in its stead.   But her reaching out for something other made me wonder about where we are going as a nation.

If we no longer have faith in our institutions, our leaders, our organizations, our corporations, or ourselves, we are a nation in danger of losing ourselves.  I read the papers, I follow politics, and both sides say the same thing for the same reasons, but about the other side.   It is no wonder the public is frustrated.  We never seem to find an accord, never seem to reach compromise without bruises, and never seem to believe those who oppose us (regardless of the topic you pick) have any legitimate business disagreeing.  As long as we hold there are no principles in common, there cannot be peace, true peace within the nation.

So we must begin with little things.   Little things that reveal we have more in common than not, and our hearts long for a fuller union than we have.  What sort of little things?   Little things like taking down the flag that hurts some, because it hurts some.  (That is sufficient a reason).   

Little things like caretaking for the Earth in little ways --recycling not because we will save the world by our actions, but by all of our actions, we can beautify the world around us.  Practicing kindness to one and all, even when we don't feel like it, will make the society as a whole, kinder.   We don't have to know the motives, (be they civic or religious), we simply need to decide. 

 We want a society that is more just, so we will be more just in our dealings with everyone we meet. 

 We want a society that is more fair, so we will be unfair in others favor, in an attempt to bring everyone to hold treating the other with innate dignity, a value.   

We want a world that is more merciful, so we need to exercise the benefit of the doubt about the person on the other side of any discussion, whether in a combox or anywhere else.   

We have to be like the sun with our mercy, pouring it out on all.   If we weigh who receives mercy, we are not merciful, for mercy is what one gives to someone who deserves justice, and who is more likely to receive our wrath.  

It won't make our country a utopia.  But it will make it better.  We can never remove the part of our hearts that has the capacity for evil. It's in everyone, and it is proof to me of our divine nature and calling; that acts of hatred and evil, of violence and depravity puzzle us even if we can trace the origins.

We are not meant as people, or as individuals, to destroy, or hate, to uglify or control.  We're meant to serve, to love, to heal, and to help set free.   So today, do something little and together, we can begin to bind the wounds and salve the hearts of a nation that should be so much kinder, stronger, and more just than it is.     Do a little thing.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 Quick Takes With LOTS of LINKY LOVE....

1.  Small Success Thursday!  

I wrote it late Wednesday,which is past the deadline so I thought the piece would be DOA.  

It wasn't, but I didn't know until late last night.  So if you'd like to stop, smell the roses, count your blessings and take stock of the past week, here's your chance over at Catholic Mom!

Hint: Road Trip!

2.  Eat Sleep Write:  

I post a lot of humor pieces over at Eat Sleep Write.  In return, there's a bit of extra exposure.  I hope all of you go take a look at the work and maybe leave a comment.  Same humor, same voice, same chaos fighting against the possibility of order, same Sherry, just a different web address.   Here's my latest:  Ask a Stupid Question.

3.  Check out the flyer!!!

To those who bought my book, thank you.  It makes a writer's day to know someone else enjoyed it.  To those of you thinking about it, here's your chance for a fun summer read.  

4. Didn't I tell you lots of linky love this week?   

Have write a book on your bucket list?  
          Have a book you need to polish for publication?  
                   Have a desire to write but don't know how?  

Here's your answer. 

Writer's World is a critique community I've been a member of for over a year. You can only self teach so much; sometimes what you need is an extra set of eyes pointing out the flaws.  

Randall Andrews is the editor/creator of Writers World and the Writers World Boot Camp. I am currently in the first boot camp, though I owe about 12,000 words.  (The equivalent of a twenty mile march with a backpack all night and then 1000 push ups).    So as part of my penance for my negligence of poor Penelope, I'm suggesting you consider (whether you're a fiction, fan fiction or non-fiction writer) enlisting in his next camp.     

Writers World Boot Camp 2
July 1st, 2015 - January 1st, 2016
Hosted by Randall Andrews, the Writers World Boot Camp is a six-month course designed to polish writers of any skill level. Whether you are just beginning or have been writing for years, this boot camp will provide valuable lessons, experiences, and instructions to help you develop your book.

By the end of Boot Camp, you will have a finished novel ready for publishing. If the novel is of high enough quality, Randall may extend the offer of a contract through JaCol Publishing at the end of the six month period. Boot camp is broken up into three sections:
• Lessons and Exercises
• Writing
• Rewrites
During each segment, you will work with your peers in the camp to develop your ideas and stories as well as working with Randall and his staff, who will guide you as you write your novel.
For more information, questions, or sign-ups contact Randall Andrews at randalla3@yahoo.com

Oh and here's the link.  Tell Randall, Sherry sent you.  ;)

5.  We normally do a bucket list for the summer.  I normally post it.   I haven't yet.  So in honor of the official start of Summer (tomorrow):
1) Berry picking 
2) swimming 
3) barbecue
4)  library
5)  movies
6) date nights
7) baseball
8) capture the flag
9) water balloons
10)  go to the park
11) go to a water park
12) enter a art piece in the fair
13) learn to juggle
14) learn a new song on the piano or guitar
15) attend a circus
16)  painting (for fun) 
17) painting (a room).
18) go to a museum
19)  kite flying
20) firefly catching
21)  fishing
22)  canoeing
23)  ice cream from the truck
24)  reading 100 books
25) go to plays
26)  chalk drawing
27)  all day magic tournament
28)  going to a new restaurant
29) listening to an outdoor concert
30)  fireworks
31)  beach
32) walk local civil war battle fields
33) sing-along
34) go to the zoo
35) go to watch horse races
36) walk or run in a 5K unless you're Peter, in which case, a 10 K or more.
37)  volunteer work
38) pick flowers.
39) pass drivers tests (Bonnie and Marta)
40) blow  bubbles
41) trying a new food (not at the fair. No matter how tempting, whatever they've fried, it will make you sick so no. No fried candy. No fried oreos.  No).  
42) going to a farmer's market
43) riding a horse
44) hiking a trail
45) take kids to the aquarium
46) Explore local caves (it's been a few years).
47)  going to a swimming hole
48) finish book (Sherry)
49) Visit colleges for Marta
50) throw a party.   

I know there are 73 days until school starts and I only listed 50 things, but some of these will take more than one day to enjoy.

6.  Wish I was going...you might want to...It's being held July 22-24, 2015.  Meet in Somerset, NJ for workshops, pitch sessions with publishers, opportunities for members to market their books directly to bookstores, and more fun than you can get out of a bucket of ice cream.  I know several of the speakers from past work with Catholicmom.com and the National Catholic Register and being a memberr of the Catholic Writer's Guild.    

And here's the link for Registration!

7. Lastly, if you've not started reading but plan to delve into Pope Francis' Encyclical, it's available free online.  Here you go.  Yes, it counts toward the 100 books for the summer.  Enjoy!

P.S.  You can read more 7-Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum. (Love the name).

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Rules

School gets out tomorrow and to preserve my sanity, our budget and the summer, the following rules have been posted, effective for all offspring, regardless of age.

5.  Kitchen Hours: Food will be served to those who cannot serve themselves, and to those awake and at the table for normal meal hours.  Hint for those who don't know, Breakfast (6:30-8:30), Lunch (11:30-1:00) and Dinner (5:30-7:30).   Meals made by people other than me, must be cleaned up by someone other than me.  (Meaning the person who makes the bonus meal).  

4.  Bedtime:  If you are between the ages of 0 and 49 and live in this house, you require sleep.  I require sleep.  I know some of you want to sleep until noon.  I will allow this once a week.  But quiet hours are 9-9, and children still go to bed by 8:30.  Teens who try to sleep past 9 more than once a week, will get the all other children wake up call and I'll blog about you.    

3.  Screen time:  Watching a screen counts. Watching a sibling play a video game counts.  Playing the DS, the kindle, the phone, counts.  1 hour between 9-5.  Why?  Because there are a whole world of things to do out there...and they aren't on a screen.  

2.  Chore time.  Everyone in this house needs to contribute.  You will have an outside task and an inside task. Every day.  That's it. That's all.  Doing less than your contribution will mean you get chores that are bigger and worse.  There's always sock folding....just saying.

1.  Entertainment:  We have made a list of things we hope to do this summer.  Look at the list.  Do them.  And if there's nothing on the list you want to do or that can be done...READ.  

Thank you.  Happy Summer.   Love, Mom

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Darn it all, I want Applause.

It is craven, self serving and proof sin (in this case the desire to be admired) makes you stupid, but there should be some sort of annual Mommy Awards.

Mommy Awards aren't for "best mom," because that spot's already taken by my own mother.   The Mommies are for doing what no one else will do, the unreasonable, the impossible, and the obnoxious.  We as moms, do not get the praise we deserve.  One day out of three hundred and sixty-five does not cut it.  Besides, that day we get flowers and breakfast in bed for BEING, not for what we've done.

These are MERIT based trophies, designed to call attention to the winner, for having the fortitude to endure the call of motherhood.   As with any award ceremony, there are many categories in which one might be nominated.

Sleep is for Losers Mommy Award:  As self explanatory as the name might seem, there's more to it than not getting the prescribed eight hours rest most adults need to function safely the other sixteen.   New Moms go sans sleep as a matter of initiation.  No.  Sleep is for Losers is given to the Mom who after doing the dishes after ten o'clock and crawling into bed by eleven, wakes fully when someone cries out at 2 a.m. because they've wet the bed, goes up the stairs, strips the bed, finds new sheets, cleans child, redresses and comforts child and then goes back down to bed.  Additional wake ups come at four by the teen who raided the refrigerator and left the lights on, five because another teen wants to take up early morning running and set an alarm she didn't wake up for, and again at 5:45 by the six year old who's hungry and wants breakfast.   Nominees must detail their schedule for a period of five days.  Voting will be done under the heavy influence of coffee and diet coke.  Award includes five minutes with a baseball bat and an alarm clock.

Schedule Goddess Award:  There are some moms out there who sign up for sports camp, back to school night and the Christmas pageant months in advance.  We think they might be robots or aliens or alien robots.   Schedule Goddess books everything at once and somehow gets all the kids assigned for whatever it is at the same place and at the same time even though they're at four different levels.   Schedule Goddess also books everyone's dentist for the same day.  A photo copy of one's calendar is required for nomination, to make sure you haven't booked things months in advance, proving yourself to be either a robot, or an alien, or an alien robot.   Your schedule will be put on a Pin-it under the heading Organized....immortalizing your moment of perfection.

On Time Award:  Mass, movies, hair cuts, they all have time slots.  But most moms view those times when things start as more like guidelines than actual rules.  I know the receptionist at my pediatrician nearly fainted when I showed up within five minutes of the actual scheduled appointment.   Nominees will be given a test (timed of course). Each contestant will be given a mini-van loaded with three children (without snacks) and a half gallon of gas. They must get from their homes to the dentist, the gas station and soccer practice within the hour. Closest to actual time for the two time stamped errands (while still keeping track of all three children) wins a NASCAR driver for the following week to do the trip instead.

ESP Award: This one seems like it's own reward but there should be public recognition of Moms out there who while going about the ordinary business of checking homework, paying the bills, managing their work emails, stop and register (a'la Madeline's Miss Clarvel) "Something is not right."

The number of trips to the emergency room averted by this seldom acknowledged matronly superpower cannot be overestimated.  Examples will be rated on a scale of 1-10 for level of severity, with bonus points added for property damage averted (say flooding the basement while filling water balloons) which would not be covered by insurance.  Reward: Whatever wasn't covered by insurance, gets covered.

And finally, the award everyone's been waiting for, The Mother Lode:  Submit your to-do list from the past month.  Whoever did the most wins! Winner will receive a trophy, and a day at the pool when it's closed to all but other nominees, and all food will be brought to you.   You cans spend it floating in absolute leisure, just be sure if you're also a nominee from the Sleep is For Losers category, you wear a life jacket while hanging out in the pool.

The reason for this post?   I scheduled ten physicals, ten dental appointments, two driving tests, 1 SAT Subject matter test and swimming lessons for five of them.   As I said, craven and self serving but darn it all, I wanted to mention it to someone.

Next Up:  Nominations for DAD Trophies are now open.

Small Success Thursday

Sometimes, small successes come salt sized....
So come join us over at Catholicmom.com and celebrate your small successes from the past week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Purposely Veiled Beauty

Because I frequent Catholic sites, I see some of the dust ups that make other denominations say, "Look how they hate each other."  When we argue over how to receive, to the point of making the posture of piety a source of venial sin, we declare unclean what God created clean.

Recently, I became part of a discussion about whether or not women should be veiled when they enter the Church.  I've never worn a veil, nor have I ever felt pressure to do so.   I've known lovely women of faith who did, and equally compelling luminous witnesses to the faith who didn't.  I didn't see it as an indicator of anything but a preference as to how one would show reverence at mass.   I did not consider it to be proof of something much more than a personal devotion or method of showing humility.   The internet reaction was swift. "We veil things that are sacred."  was the argument, and it was only my pride that prevented me from being willing to submit myself to the adoption of the practice.

I'm a proud thing so I thought it's possible pride is blocking my understanding, but still disagreed.

I went to mass.  I saw a few women praying, wearing chapel veils.  I saw women praying whose heads were bare.  Were not all of us, men and women, made in His image, were not all of us, by our very creation, sacred?  Shouldn't all of us be wearing something over our heads?  I didn't want to have this imaginary argument in my head, but it was there just the same.

Then, the priest spoke about the upcoming Encyclical on the environment, and the need of all Catholics to care for their whole family, and that included our home, the home given to us for all of our past parents, the home where we raise our children; Earth.

I considered the fallen nature of the planet, and of its keepers.  The majesty of an oak is veiled in the acorn, and the beauty of a butterfly in the catepillar.   A star cannot show you all of its brilliance because of distance, and a shark cannot manifest its terrible beauty and strength without our falling into danger.  My mind drifted into the whimsical thought, if we were to see how we were intended to be before the fall, we would mistake ourselves because of our fallen nature, for God.   We cannot bear too much reality, too much of God revealed in the physical world, and so we receive Him in the accidents of the sacrament, in the form of bread and wine but not.  We crave the distance of a veil, to keep the sacred safe, whether by keeping ourselves at a distance, or keeping ourselves from seeing.

We are accidents of form, for our souls are us, and yet our souls are not fully revealed by how we look, but how we act.   The wearing of the veil reveals one form of devotion, but not necessarily the state of the soul wearing it, the same way a collection of prayer cards three inches thick may indicate something about a soul, but it does not necessarily reveal a deep prayer life, merely an obsessive one.

 My four year old daughter played with her stuffed kitten in the cry room and knows the mass drill.  "I'm blowing kisses to God." she said.   The veil between her soul and the world and God is much thinner than mine.

Then I met a woman whose nature and countenance told me she was luminous in her faith life.  She'd adopted a child with Down Syndrome, and had seven children of her own, two in the seminary.   A dear friend who's shared her faith story with me, introduced us.  Both are devout women of prayer with deeper interior lives than I can imagine, given my own Attention Deficit methods of prayer.

One wore a veil, the other did not.  Both were holy women and my friends. The words "Both And." resonated in my heart, for they struck the reality of how we should be, how we're called to be.  We are veiled accidents of form, and through our witness, we reveal the truer reality, truer than whether one wears a head covering or not, the "Both And" radical nature of God's love for us, and call of us to love Him.   Neither of these women drew attention through their attire, but through their presence and actions.   God bled through their souls into my ordinary distracted life.

I left the parking lot after mass and all I knew was, "That's Catholic."  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer in Session

When the weather gets hot, I personally believe that ice cream becomes one of the necessary meals of the day.  More importantly, my children know this and know that I will offer Sundaes as dinner (complete with lots of fruit) if chores I hate, get done. 

Given the state of the economy and the general run down conditions of our roads, infrastructure, cities and schools, I'm wondering what kind of mileage we could get on a national version of the ice cream economy.  

For example:  What would you do for a Klondike bar?  My kids will clean their rooms and even take folded laundry in a basket up to the appropriate room.  If it is a specialty bar like cookies and cream, they might even put their clothes away. 

Surely a bananna split would muster a clearing out of a garage or the powerwashing of a deck in the microeconomy.  Likewise I'm thinking there are more than a few rooms in congress that could stand a good scrubbing for the cost of a triple scoop with chocolate syrup confection with fruit and whip. 

We've tried all the traditional ways of getting congress to work, elections, public protests, phone and email, all but the most effective, and consistent method out there: bribing. 

So I'm willing to put up a hot fudge brownie sundae to the first member of congress to successfully pass a bill that doesn't self serve.   I scream, you scream, if we all scream, we might get something other than the bill for their desserts, perhaps we could get bills for just desserts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why I Am NOT Leaving the Catholic Church

The Anchoress over at Patheos tagged me in a challenge, created from Tod Worner of The Catholic Thinker's post, Why I Am Not Leaving The Catholic Church.  She asked people of the Catholic media, the blogosphere, from Catholic newspapers and websites and radio and TV to answer this question.  It's a challenge, because saints and writers and popes have answered this question with greater reflection, time and wit than I can muster, and reading their responses, I find I agree with all of them.

I have always been Catholic.

I don't know that I could be me otherwise.  If tomorrow, I were to stop going to mass, stop praying, stop reading Catholic writing, stop writing for Catholic publications, stop everything to do with being a Catholic, I would look like me, talk like me, even sluff off housework and homework like me, but I would be like a me with a bad cold, a poor functioning version of myself.

So here are my reasons.

50. I stay because I believe the Church to be true.
49. I stay because I love beauty.
48. I stay for the sacraments.
47. I stay for the saints.
46. I stay for the Song of Songs and the Book of Tobit.
45. I stay for the mass.
44. I stay for the litanies, the novenas, the devotions.
43. I stay for the rosary
42. I stay to learn at the feet of Mary.
41. I stay for the cross.
40. I stay for the crucifix.
39. I stay for adoration.
38. I stay for Lent.
37. I stay for Advent.
36. I stay because there is no better means of understanding suffering than through the stations of the cross.
35. I stay for the popes, because I trust the Holy Spirit's judgement, more than my own conscience.
34. I stay for the Holy Spirit and all the gifts of grace waiting to be poured out.
33. I stay for the miracles.
32. I stay for the ordinary time.
31. I stay because it is the lightest of crosses, to remain in the Church, when people all over the world, suffer for the privilege of remaining.
30. I stay because I love it.
29. I stay because the yoke is easy.
28. I stay because life is hard, grace makes it possible, love makes it bearable, and faith makes it luminous.
27. I stay for the songs, even the ones I don't like.
26. I stay because every week in the pews, I see the whole community, coming with their crosses, and we are all present.
25. I stay to taste Heaven here, because I'm impatient.
24. I stay because absent my faith, most of the people I love would not exist.  
23. I stay because I always want to have everyone at the feast.
22. I stay because I know God is.
21. I stay because I know I need to know the Father.
20. I stay because the only way to fully know the Father is through the Son.
19. I stay to feast on the Eucharist.
18. I stay because there is always more to know, more to learn, more I could be doing, more I could be loving, and the Church in her fullness, is always fuller than my dull imagination can fathom.
17. I stay because I'm obedient, or trying to be.
16. When I read the doctors of the church, the wisdom of their thoughts seems obvious, and I wonder how amazing the world would be, if more people, including me, embraced the faith with more abandonment.
15.  When I read the saints and their diaries, and see the very real, very personal, very intimate relationship they hold with Jesus, whether through mystic visions or dialogs before the Blessed Sacrament, or in prayer, I think, "I want that."
14.  Because when I go to mass, it isn't just me.  When I pray, it isn't just me.  When I read scripture, it isn't just me.  I am never alone.  All of Heaven partakes in the mass, and the angels and saints pray with us when we ask, and the scripture, comes alive and speaks to the heart.
13. I stay out of gratitude for the 1000 miracles I can remember in my own lifetime of answered prayers.
12. I stay for the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries.
11. I stay because I could not raise these ten people without prayer, without grace, without the sacraments.
10. I stay because I cling to the cross.
9. I stay because for several weeks, I'd suggested the idea of adoration to my spouse.  On the way home from a school meeting by myself, I impulsively turned into the St. John's parking lot and punched in the code to go into the little chapel.  It wasn't my normal place to go, but as I say, it was on impulse.  Sitting in the back row, was my husband. It felt like a date Jesus had arranged.
8.  Many faiths love beauty and feasts; many faiths love and serve the poor; many faiths love the scripture and sacred writings; but fewer faiths ask their followers to deny themselves, and fewer still to embrace the cross, and only one that isn't satisfied with merely good, but seeks to create out of the broken people who come, saints.
7.  The Church has Percy, Chesterton, O'Connor, Tolkien, Waugh, Shakespeare and Milton, Fitzgerald and Hopkins. Lots of the cool kids for a former English Major, and still a Major English Nerd.
6.  The Church has saints like Peter, Paul, Therese of Lisieux, and upcoming, Blessed Mother Teresa, considering Dorthy Day, and the Venerable Fulton Sheen.  I love the diversity of Saints, it gives me great hope.
5. The sacrament of Reconciliation. I need it often.
4. The mercy of Purgatory.  (Because I'm usually unprepared for whatever it is).
3. The Holy Spirit has always been my friend.
2.  I stay because only here, does the water of my soul become wine, only here, will the five loaves feed five thousand, and only here, will I be satisfied.
1. I stay for the Eucharist.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When Did We Become Such Ninnies?

So I wrote a piece for Eat Sleep Write in which I had a bit of fun with God, Heaven, grudges and purgatory.  It was done to play with the concept of how to reconcile being in a perfected state/place, and the petty, small and difficult things that clog up the heart and soul but it apparently upset people who read it because it was "too religious."

At first, I felt annoyed.  Have we become so fragile we cannot even endure someone else laughing about their own faith and failure to live that faith fully?  Did the very notion of such a person existing give vapors?  Do we need "Trigger zones" for those who wish to discuss anything other than the weather and everyone's health, a fine day and how do you do?   Because if everyone's feelings are paramount, someone will always be offended by whatever is posted.

How dare I post a picture of a sad puppy!  There are cat people out there who feel left out.  

or this...

People on diets, people lactose intolerant, and people who don't (for whatever reason), like chocolate again do not feel special.  

I cannot make everyone feel special anymore than I can make everyone laugh.  Humor by its nature is about poking at one's own or others misconceptions or faults.

But after thinking about it and praying about it, and wanting to go all Southern on those who felt discomfited by the fluff piece I wrote, I went back to the basics of humor writing.

1) The biggest fault a humorist can have, is the inability to laugh at one's self, to be a humorless prig about one's "art."

2) The second biggest fault, is to be "not funny." See #1.

3) The third biggest fault is to fight with people about the joke itself.  See #1,

So to those who felt the piece too religious, all I can say is, writing humor is a style, and sometimes, it doesn't suit everyone.

For the story that started it all, Why I'll Probably Be Spending More Time in Purgatory, the reaction probably added to my time as well for all those who appreciate irony.   For those irritated, take satisfaction in knowing, I'll pay for this...

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!