Friday, January 27, 2017

Wanting America to be Good

To be Catholic is to be a bat in the animal kingdom, neither fitting with the birds because you have hair, nor with the beasts because you fly.  Today is the March for Life.  Thousands have come together to march on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.  Our nation has for the past 47 years, been fighting a battle over the definition of ideas.

I worry and I know, to some, this worry seems crazy.  After all, the March is getting covered, the Vice President spoke, so theoretically it should be hopeful, and yet, I am not.  Why am I not?  Because I know, we have to judge a tree by it's fruit.  We cannot allow the zeal for justice for one group of people, to blind us to injustice done to any other group of people. It is an easy charge to lay at the feet of those of us who march for the unborn, because those who issue the charge, see the opportunity cost of the good we advance (that is, the child's life), being thrust on the mother and possibly, the mother alone.  

While I can cite countless organizations and people of good will, who minister to people in crisis pregnancies, to win this argument, we must not miss one, and there are many who are missed, who fall through the cracks.   So I worry, because I want this nation to not be great, but good, overwhelmingly good, overwhelmingly kind, overwhelmingly merciful, overwhelmingly generous and forgiving.  

The right to decide, is at odds with the discussion, what are we allowing to be decided.   The women and men who brave the elements (this year it's nice, last year, not so much), believe one's right to exist should not be threatened by geography.

All people of good will on some level, agree with this issue. It is why many on the liberal side of politics, fight for the refugees and the immigrants to not be prisoners of law by the arbitrary reality of their geography.  One should not receive the death penalty because a crime was committed in one state as versus another.  (I would argue, no death penalty).  Law is to serve humanity, not to make humanity servile.   Politics have made issues of serving the public good always an either or discussion, when faith, Catholic faith, demands we respond to all of life with a Both And. To be against the torture of even our enemies, is to think with the same sensibilities as one who argues for the innate dignity of the unborn.   It is not what we do, or can't do, or even if we are acting in a kind or unkind manner that determines our innate worth.  We are innately of infinite worth.

It is hard to speak on this matter, believing that every child deserves to be allowed to be born, without seeming to be insenitive to all the reasons a woman might opt to abort.  The presumption of our culture, is to hold that one should not do something (EVER), even if allowed by the law, is proof of a closed mind and closed heart.

 We should do everything in our power to facilitate life, providing shelter, (room in the inn), care (when I was sick), compassion (when I was lonely), and answering the call of the Holy Spirit, which is always to love, always to do more.  Since we are not saints, we have not always answered this call, we have not always made a gift of self, and thus the theory goes, because we are not perfect in being pro-life, we have no moral authority to insist upon this particular injustice.  

Politicians and those who follow law and policy can rightly say, the right is not pro-life because it allows for war, it seeks to repeal health care, it won't enact policies which curb the use of heavy firearms in our society.  The right can also rightly say, the left do not care about the little guy or the innocent, because no one is more innocent or little than the unborn and you demand we pretend they aren't human and don't count.  Both parties point to the planks in the other's eyes and say, "Yeah, but your plank is bigger," and so we go on being blind.  We will allow injustice to persist, and trumpet the goods we've championed, as though the ballance sheet works out when all our policies agree with us.  
The subsequent argument to the people marching for the unborn is, take care of everyone out here, or if you're not taking care of everyone out here, you've lost the moral authority to speak for these people who aren't people.  They're just cells. They're just blobs of tissue.  They don't have legal standing.  They're not human persons, ergo, they're not worth wasting your time marching for, you'll never change everyone's hearts, so stop already.  The call to act is correct, but the condemnation is not.   The counter could also be made, take care of the unborn, but the reality is, everyone, should be taking care of everyone.  

Yes, we've all failed on many occasions, but each day offers the opportunity to begin again, to be a light.  All it requires of us, is the courage to say yes.  The question is not, when is it licit to kill, or when is it legal to kill, or when is it licit and legitimate to hate, and when is it not.  The question is, do we want a society that can arbitrarily decide to be unjust to a whole class of people or not?  

If the answer is yes, then understand, one day, we will all wind up in that class which has been deemed unworthy.  We will grow old and feeble, and be less useful to the state.  Ergo, we will be told, it's a good, it's better this way, and ushered out.   We will hold an unpopular opinion.  The political wind will change.  At some point, we will be on the outside looking in.  We will have children who aren't all star athlete honor role musician scientists, and thus they can be ignored.   We will at some point become poor or homeless or ill, and not productive enough to merit protection.  If the answer is no, then it is our job to help shape that society with that particular ethic, all human life has infinite innate dignity as the inspiration and impetus of all policy and all action. Life may not be fair, but it is for us to make it as fair minded and good as possible, to value truth, kindness, forebearance and forgiveness, generosity and gentleness.  

To be fully pro-life, is to know and be energized by the reality that we can act, and that we were all created to do exactly this, to love our neighbors, in all the distressing disguises we encounter.   Every act of injustice poisons our society and makes it less just.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  It's true. To be pro-life is to march today for the unborn. Tomorrow, remind the government not to allow for the deportation of people fleeing war torn countries and religious persecution, to beg them to provide sanctuary. One day, the person who knows each person is of infinite value regardless of creed, race, capacity, nationality and ideology, will jam the phones at the legislature to make sure people aren't tortured, and the next that same person will say, "Today I am Muslim," if the government decides to register people based on their nationality and/or faith.  It will take incredible persistence to keep up with the world's ever increasing inventive ways of trying to make us choose death over life, but we're up to the task.

To stand against creating a register of people based on faith, go here.

To call your representative and stand against torture. Here's the link to contact your senator as well.

To provide aid or help to a place that provides healing for mothers and fathers post-abortion.

To get the facts from a woman who ran the largest Planned Parenthood in Texas before stopping and learn about the ministry she runs to help people leave the industry.

To deal with addressing a pro-life issue that tugs at your heart and there are as many as there are stars, here's a good starting point.

It's a lot of work and it's why we've been given a lifetime to do it.  Let's roll up our sleeves and get started.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017


I don't watch talent shows but when I do, it's because I've ignored everything until the winner emerges, and it's fun to see what they do and not have to sit through anything else.  You're busy. I'm busy, so instead of giving you four blog posts with four links, you get all of them in one place, here.  Enjoy.  

1) Hello Everyone! It's Sherry here with another Small Success Thursday! Small Success Thursday is about making gratitude a reflexive way of thinking about the world and your life. If you will, it is the domestic version of the Canticle of the Sun, where we praise God for the gifts of the early morning feedings, the late night homework, the dishes, the laundry, the minutia that seemingly clutters our lives and yet reveals by that very clutter, how blessed to the point of overflowing, our lives are. Like most things in life, it appears simplistic, to seek to be grateful for all things, it seems beautiful when you hear it, maybe even a little too sweet, until you have to practice it. (There's more).

Over at Aleteia with a story that took place in 1993,  I must say, I'm honored by the title: The Happiest, Most Inspiring Pro-Life Story You'll Read Today.

3) I woke to this surprise over at the National Catholic Register...Your Family Will Be a Sanctuary of Love: A Letter to New Parents.

4) Finally, if that wasn't enough, The Diocese of Kansas City, Saint Joseph's Parish, reprinted a piece I wrote back in 2013: 50 Things to Do if You Can't Go to the March for Life!  It's been republished on as a result too.

Guess I'd better get to work on those petitions for the mass I need to finish, no one is going to believe I didn't have time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Connecting the Dots with Mark Shea

Mark Shea is loads of fun to pal around with on the internet, and on the radio through the internet. When he invites S.C. the editor of Eye of the Tiber, a great Catholic Satire site, it's even more merriment as we pun, discuss satire, discuss writing and laugh an awful lot over at Connecting the Dots! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Have a Piece Published...

Over at the National Catholic Register Today telling the story of how the Blessed Mother persisted to get me back in the habit of the daily rosary.  Please share, like, tweet and leave a comment.  Also, if you're thinking, you didn't get off to a big start of a New Year's Resolution, try asking the Virgin Mary to help you say a rosary a day.  She's very willing to help.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The March for Living

I love the March for Life. This year, it's being held on the 27th of January.  I've walked in it, I've covered it for a story, and I've met people who came from all over the country and braved horrible weather to walk in it.  

I am pro-life, and that means I believe abortion to be a grave evil that harms the mother, the father, the abortionist and the child.  Abortion is the world's solution because it doesn't require involvement, it doesn't involve commitment, sacrifice or love.   It seems like a quick fix.  As a Catholic, as a human being, I believe we cannot solve an evil (being alone and pregnant), (rape), (incest), (lack of access to medical care), (poverty) with another evil (abortion).   It is to my sensibilities, a means by which society can ignore such evils and allow them to persist.    I am pro-life which means I know there aren't easy or simple fixes to the problems of life, any problem of any weight requires involvement, committment, sacrifice and love.   The question always thrown to the pro-life advocate is, "What are you going to do?" and that's where we need to make a visible sign to the world that we are more than just against something, we are for life.

To be pro-life is to wish we could fund crisis pregnancy centers providing obgyn care in every city across the country so that women wouldn't feel they needed to turn to abortion, and reduce adoption regulations and fees so that it could be considered more often as a viable alternative.   To be pro-life is to ponder, how do we change hearts (which is much harder), than merely defunding something.  

We have organizations like And Then There Were None, and Sisters For Life and National Life Center, and Project Rachel which provide help to practitioners who want out, expectant mothers who need help both during and after the pregnancy, and those who suffer from having experienced an abortion, both recent or deep past.  

However, we do not always focus on the reality, to love, we always need to expand outward, to do more.  The march is a great way to hearten those who know, the child in the womb needs protection, but it needs to be about more than abortion, as grave and hard as it is.   We need to be talking about the innate dignity of each person, so that we are pro-life from conception to natural death.

The unborn child has dignity.
The pregnant mother has dignity.
The father of the unborn child has dignity.
The unborn girl has dignity.
The unborn boy has dignity.
The unborn tripplet has dignity.
The unborn child with Down Syndrome has dignity.
The unborn child with any other condition one can diagnose within the womb, has dignity.
The born child with an addiction has dignity.
The child born in poverty has dignity.
The child born with a fragile medical condition has dignity.
The toddler who is behind on benchmarks has dignity.
The toddler who struggles with a temper has dignity.
The child with hyperactivity has dignity.
The child who doesn't like school has dignity.
The child who struggles with reading has dignity.
The child who never turns in homework, has dignity.
The child who doesn't speak, has dignity.
The child diagnosed with autism, has dignity.
The child diagnosed with cancer, has dignity.
The child who is depressed, has dignity.
The child who is overweight, has dignity.
The child who never seems to be clean, has dignity.
The child who is hungry has dignity.
The child who is always sick, has dignity.
The child who is homeless, has dignity.
The child diagnosed with whatever it is, has dignity.
The teen who is rude, has dignity.
The teen who is loud, has dignity.
The teen who is always late, has dignity.
The teen who struggles to pay attention, has dignity.
The teen who doesn't struggle and doesn't pay attention, has dignity.
The teen who leaves early, has dignity.
The teen who has it all together, has dignity.
The teen who seems hopeless in all things, has dignity.
The young adult who doesn't have a job, has dignity.
The young adult who doesn't go to school, has dignity.
The young adult who isn't going to the best school, has dignity.
The young adult who dropped out of school, has dignity.
The young adult who still doesn't know how to be an adult, has dignity.
The young adult with young children, has dignity.
The young adult without children, has dignity.
The middle class adults have dignity.
The poor adults have dignity.
The well off adults have dignity.
The adults without jobs have dignity.
The adults with jobs have dignity.
The adults with houses have dignity.
The adults without homes have dignity.
The married have dignity.
The single have dignity.
The divorced have dignity.
The degreed have dignity.
The skilled have dignity.
The adults lacking degrees have dignity.
The adults lacking skills have dignity.
The older have dignity.
The injured have dignity.
Those with handicapping conditions have dignity.
Those with handicapping conditions we can't see, have dignity.
Those with metal illness, have dignity.
Those with addictions have dignity.
Those with deterriating conditions have dignity.
Those who are dying have dignity.
Those who are alone have dignity.
Those who have nothing, have dignity.
Those who are powerful, have dignity.
Those who are powerless, have dignity.

Everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, race, creed, economics, education, career, politics, capacity and development, has dignity.  I could go on, but the idea is everyone. All ones.  Every single one.  There is no person here now, or ever before, who is not innately a person of value not for what they've done, or how far they've come or the power or riches they may or may not have, or the skills they've acquired and talents they've harnessed, but for being.  

We should be about celebrating the innate dignity of all.  

To that end, we should be extending an invitation to create a summer event, parallel to the March for Life, about the Dignity of All, The March of Living.  We'd hold it in the summer when it would be easy on families and in multiple cities across the nation.  This march would not based on a concensus of political values or one sex or against anything.  Such a march for all would be an attempt to reach out and make sure everyone knows about all the magnificient ministries out there which can help anyone who fits into any of these categories plus any I failed to mention.

We could invite charities of all kinds to be part of the march, and have it every year, as a grand celebration not just of life, but of ministering to life at all of its stages, so that people who might not agree with those who advocate against abortion, could discover we are more than merely against abortion, we are for life and here is how.  We could show the world, "Look how they love each other."
There would be ministries for caring for the sick, for the dying, for the hungry, for the homeless, for the veteran, for the incarcerated, for the addicted, for the recovering, for the jobless, for the struggling, for children, for legal help, for financial help, for whatever kind of help, for elderly, for the educating of all, for inviting all to be part of how we would be the hands and feet of Jesus, ministering to all.   It would be a celebration of service and life.

At the end of the day, we would have a concert, celebrating our gifts and our grattide for all, and give everyone a lit candle, and ask all of them to recognize, they are that singular light in the world, and that if every one were allowed to be nurtured and remain lit, the world itself would be luminous. Now go, and nurture someone else's light, to make the world lighter.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


This week, one of the classes I assist worked on essays discussing disillusionment.  We'd read The Great Gatsby, and were debating whether Gatsby's relentless romanticism and hopefulness that Daisy would come, Daisy would call, and he and she would live happily ever after, was a good thing as Nick opines, or a delusion which should have been discarded when she married Tom.  

We'd given examples, "Finding out about the Tooth Fairy or Santa," learning a friend wasn't, or being let down by a classmate, parent, teacher or other person.  We'd discussed the first component necessary in being disillusioned, having trust and hope in something or someone.   So is it a good?  One could not say it was healthy in the case of Gatsby, and several students declared him to be insane to pursue her when he could have anyone and he had everything.  However the funeral reveals the stark reality.  He had everything of matter, and nothing that mattered.  Some of my students lamented the weight of the waste of Gatsby's life and felt mystified he'd have such depth of feeling for someone who seemed so casual in her feelings for everything.

Other students understood Nick's appreciation of Gatsby for his "all in" way of living.  These students wanted that romanticism to be real.  They wanted a "Re-illusioned" world where anything was possible and maybe, maybe if George hadn't shot him, Daisy would recognize what she might lose by not leaving Tom.  

The discussion took place in pieces, punctuated by talk about the fight that took place between two girls that morning.  Oddly, the students didn't recognize the very passions which drove the quarrel between two students, was also the result of two visions of the world.  One world held there is no place that is safe, there is no relationship one should hold as fixed.  The other side thought even if it was a fight, there was a reason, and the fight settled very little, as the passions remained.  

If we have a goal with education, it is to walk the line of growing hope and bolstering the steel in each student to face reality.    We have to do both and, revealing that we cannot know all ends of our actions or the outcomes of all relationships, and yet must act in all things with some degree of anticipation about how things will play out.  The students wrote over and over again of a wanting to not have to be disillusioned.   They want the dream of having someone be that lavishly in love.  They want the dream of being able to somehow build one's self out of nothing.   They want to think, they can one day arrive and have everything. They also presume, when they arrive, the friends at the party will be real.  That's what they want. It's what Gatsby wanted.   No one wanted to think they had to despair to face reality.

All I could think was, me too.  

So I pondered, perhaps it is time to create some story which allows for the re-ordering of our understanding about hopes and dreams.  They aren't an illusion or a delusion, but a means of imagining a reality better than what we face.  They may be a goal.  They may become a reality.  They aren't a guarantee, but they are a catalyst for everyone who ever embraces them, to make the world something other than the disillusioned mess it is now.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Connecting the Dots with Mark Shea

The Podcast for Connecting the Dots with Mark Shea, and guest Matt Swain is up for your listening pleasure. (I'm there too).  

We discuss amongst other things, fifteen days dedicated to Prayer for Christian Unity.  We tend to think such things might involve platittudes or what you would find on the back of a car bumper.  The reality is much more about being authentic witnesses to Christ with all people, and discovering we are both our brother's keepers, and they are ours.   We have far more which unites us (say performing the corporeal and spiritual acts of mercy), than divides.

It isn't an act of betrayal of the faith to see in the faiths of others, a genuine devotion and zeal, and a divine spark of curiosity about both how we are to live now, and who we want to know forever. Laced in the hearts of every person, is a desire to be loved and not merely liked or tolerated.  We want to be embraced as the sons and daughters of the King, to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant," when we're finished with all of this, and to know when someone else heard us, saw us, worked with us, shared bread with us, they saw in our joyful witness, something of Divine love.  Matt Swain is working with the Coming Home Network to invite all people of Christian persuation to pray for a greater understanding amongst the faith denominations about the who we all worship, and how we are to treat each other.  If you're interested in finding out more, Here's where to go. Tell them Sherry sent you...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Chapter Zero Sum Game

Somewhere out there, my high school math teachers, be they living or otherwise, are laughing.  

Today, they get revenge for all the times I daydreamed through class.

My son signed up for the S.A.T.  He's struggled to knuckle down and practice.  To help him commit, I've offered to suffer along side of him.  That's right. I'm taking practice S.A.T.s side by side.  It is not pretty.  

I've also told my son, we will be doing this for the indefinite future, until both of our scores go up.   We will take a practice test each night four nights of the week, and one day of the weekend, his father will bat clean up and probably destroy both of us in the process.  Like I said, it will be ugly.  Since the lad likes stats, we are posting our records but right now, after the first round, neither of us are boasting.  I skipped five and missed four out of twenty.   His score paralleled mine.   We both know, in layman's terms, we stunk up the place.  

Math and I remain to this day, sworn enemies.  We aren't even on speaking terms.  Yet here I am, rediscovering formulas I didn't remember the first time around they were presented.   Every time I open a test, I'm reminded of my own high school experience and asking for tutoring in math.  "We'll start at chapter 1."  I spent the bulk of the weekend arguing we should start at Chapter Five, since that was the one we were taking a test on, but I didn't win the argument.   I think my dad in viewing my scores today would say, "I rest my case."

I'll still argue the point.  

After that S.A.T. mess, I think perhaps, "We'll start at Chapter Zero."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Connecting the Dots Podcast

7 Quick Takes Friday...

1. So on Monday, Mark Shea and I talked about baptism.


This week I also wrote the weekly Facebook post for Small Success Thursday. I'm still mastering how to link up to Facebook posts and I don't know if people who aren't on Facebook can link to it by clicking on the link, since I am on Facebook and it automatically connects.  

3.  Where have I been?  I've been working.  This week, I went in early two days, because we're trying to get things done for the end of the semester.   Next week, we only have a three day school week (owing to Martin Luther King day and the Innaugeration).   So I should be officially out of excuses when it comes to writing for next week.

4. How's the resolution to say the rosary coming? The Blessed Mother has been coaxing me to work at it, and I'm better than I was before 2017 started, that's for sure.   But prayer, like working out, is a wilful act which only gets easier when you've been at it so consistently, you can't imagine not having it in your day.   I'm not there yet.

5.  Tomorrow, my daughter goes back to college and I'll only have seven in the house.   Yes, that's a wierd sentence.  It's also true.  

6. What am I reading?   Having just finished Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, I recommend it. I'd recommend Persoplis 2 except I can't find it.  I bought it, and it has disappeared in my home.  I think one of my teenagers has it.  

7.  Have a great three day weekend.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Nerd Products You Won't Find in Stores, Which Parents Need or At Least, Think They Want

Item #1) The Screen Killer Destructo Button:  I want the equivalent of a tantalus field in my home, one push of the button, and all screens everywhere in the home shut down.  No TV, no telephones, no computers, no tablets, no kindles, nooks, xboxes, wiiU's, playstations, DS's, iphone watches, ipods, Ipads, any of it, works for the next 2-10 hours, depending upon the setting you use.

 (See StarTrek Mirror Mirror if you don't know the reference).   I also want an override, so that the children can attempt bribery if they have the will.   If I'm going to borrow technology from the evil universe, I might as well be a corruptable version of Mom in the bargain.

Item #2) A Tardis  Parenting would be infinitely easier if we could move teen A from point B back to home without making an adult do anything other than pull a switch.  We also could coordinate the schedules that approximate a question you'd find on the revised version of the S.A.T.   There's a dire need for this invention, since none of us show any signs in our parenting of the next generation of having sufficient grace to merit bi-location.  Moving through space and time is something we do all the time, it's just only in one direction.  Given the demands of modern life, we need a way to collapse the transitions.   We don't need watches that take a licking and keep on ticking, we need a way to avoid the licking altogether.

I'd be happy for the Tardis if only to create some sort of folded space so we could put all the winter clothing in it and only get out what we need when we need it. Otherwise, I've done the math without the benefit of a sonic screwdriver to check my calculations, and there are 56 things sitting on my living room floor every afternoon when all the kids get home from school.

Item #3) Whatever it is in the Star Wars Universe that gets things so clean.  You look at the Star Wars Universe, and even the grungy places, they don't have dust.  They don't have trash.  The sandmen don't leave sand everywhere.  The giant Jaba the Hut doesn't leave a snail trail of slime. The walls in the most dangerous of cafes on Tatooine don't have unsightly spots where the java burst through the door and left a door knob sized welt in the wall.  Even the blasters, (when they hit anything), do so neatly.  Light sabers cauterize the wounds they give.  Yes, even when there's a massive bar fight and Hans shot first, no one ever spills a blasted thing.   People say sorry about the mess, but I'm thinking...what mess?  You don't even know the meaning of the word.  Even the garbage center in the detention cell block, with all of its debris, didn't make Princess Leia's outfit look dingy for more than the necessary scene.

Midi-Chlorians, Now with Extra Cleaning Power!

I'm thinking maybe those midi-chlorians are the universe's equivalent of scrubbing bubbles, working hard so we won't have too.  In which case, I'd be only too happy to use the force.  

Item #4)  M.I.B.  Flashy Thing

We all have parenting moments we'd rather forget. Cleaning up throw up at two in the morning comes to mind.  So eliminating those sort of memories from my history, well, I wouldn't mind it.  My one issue, would be, how often did they find it and use it on me?  "Mom, you promised we'd go for pizza in the afternoon."  "I don't remember."  "We do!"

Maybe this is not something we should invent...with great power....comes great confusion.

Item #5) I need a catch phrase that gets everyone front and center.  Now I'm not a picky person.

I want this:
        Avengers, Assemble!

I get this:
I'm not saying I know what the product is, only that I need it. 

Item #6)  With apologizes to Saint Anthony who does a spectacular job interveining for me daily when I can't find whatever it is I forgot because of the flashy thingy, that I can't locate, I want a Harry Potter magic wand.  Not so I can go around inflicting unforgivable curses on anyone, but so I can say..."Accio mated socks." and be done with it.   If I saw that in a "As Seen on TV" store, I'd buy two even if I had to pay extra for shipping and handiling.

Magic has some practical uses which go underexplored in the Potter Universe. In addition to being able to instantly find things, who doesn't need a bag of holding which doesn't weigh you down.  I know, I have a purse, I also have a weight lifting limit.  My bigger bag of holding in real life is my car.  Most everything can be found on the floor in it, so maybe I just need to tell my kids, go to the car, say accio homework, accio lunch box, accio bookbag, scarf, left hand glove, so they can bring them into the house and drop them on the floor. 

 At which point, I'll remind them to put everything in the Tardis.   When they say, it's too much, it won't fit, I can say, "It's bigger on the inside." and threaten to push the tantalus field if they don't.  If they complain, I'll tell them, "Resistance is futile."  Like I said, if I'm going to borrow from an evil universe...I'm going to do it like a boss.  Speaking of which...

Item#6) Nanites that initiate control over other beings.  Magic wasn't sufficient to get people with the program for a parent as formidable as Molly Weasley. No.  I need the ability to get kids to obey without that pesky free will business getting in the way.

Solution?  Love?  No. That leads to the kids using the flashy thingy on me so I don't notice they didn't clean their rooms or do their homework.  No, I want order.  I want discipline.  I've shown I'm willing to entertain the dark side, but maybe I didn't go far enough.  Injecting little nanites allowed the Borg to assimilate whole cultures for generations. I just want to get them all to go to bed and turn off the lights.  I'm only slightly evil.  One nanite per kid ought to do the trick. 

This Queen knew how to get folks to bed on time with their teeth brushed!

My only worry would be, the mito-chloridians might feel underappreciated if I used basic scrubbing spells, as would the nanites that cause children to behave. There might be a full scale rebellion if there's even one rogue.   In which case, things could get messy and my best advice would be, run!  In which case, maybe it's just for the best, I don't have access to any of these things...

Maybe I need to switch genres and get a house that cleans itself, or animals that assist with household chores, and a fairy godmother who makes sure I make it everywhere on time, and properly dressed.  She would have to be more flexible on that staying up past midnight thing though...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Two-Fer Thursday

I know, it is all grace and we are blessed.  I know it so deeply in my bones, we've made "We are blessed" the theme of this year.   My poor little blog, the new year has not been kind.  Here's my link to for this week's Small Success Thursday and here's the podcast for Connecting the Dots with Mark Shea!  We are blessed.  I'll try to do better.

I'm trying to carve out time to write, it's just everything seems to need equal time these days; work, the kids, the house, everything! It means everything gets a fraction of the time it deserves and I always feel I've short changed whatever I've given a fraction and whatever I haven't given even that little.  It is hard not to always feel fractured, because I'm only giving fractions.  

It occurred to me, that was the problem. I felt dissatisfied with the giving, because I wasn't giving enough.   If I gave all to each, I would no longer feel I wasn't giving enough.  That contradictory thought somehow consoled me and felt true.  Give all, and I won't feel fractured, give all and I won't feel like I'm short changing anything or anyone.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Puzzle Pieces

It’s 2017.  Everyone always wants the new year to be so full of promise and potential, but whether the New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, get published or find a job, the reality is, we can dream all we want, it’s what we do that makes the difference between an aspiration and a resolution.  

I aspire to be a writer.  Well. What did I write yesterday?  Nothing!   Not one stupid word!  Why not? 
The brain felt flat.  That’s no excuse if you want to be a writer. Why did you let it stop you?   I don’t know.   The Drill Sergeant in me is no more pleasant than anyone else’s.   She told me to stop and give her 1K.   I told her I didn’t know what to write.  She told me so what?  Make it 2K.  

That’s the difference.  If you want this year’s resolution to be a success, you must resolve to will it.  It’s the same with everything else, but that bottled will isn’t sold in the stores.  I write things down. I make lists.  I set aside time, I read.  I do all the things you’re supposed to do, but it still comes down to being willing to ignore the blank page and write.  

I looked at the word count.  Damn.  Only 220 words, and that includes numbers.   Ugh.  Whatever the damn dam is in my brain, it’s strong.   I ran through my excuses.   I didn’t sleep well.  We’ve been sick.  It was Christmas, I have family visiting.  The Drill Sergeant smirked.  That’s fodder.  You should have had three articles from those experiences.  Sick, insomnia, Christmas with family, those are gold mines of inspiration.  

I’m content.   Oh, does the Drill Sergeant hate that one.  It’s hard to write if you’re relaxed, you’ve got nothing pressing, and there isn’t something just poking you, demanding that you turn it over in your head until you’ve figured it out.   3K!  Three thousand words? Are you kidding me?  I barely made it to 300!  I’ve pulled up all three of my books, I have editing to do.  I need to write and submit three columns this week and I’ve got nothing. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! 

What if there isn’t any more?  What if it’s dried up?  

Drill Sergeant yelled at me.  You went to Rogue One!  You watched Lord of the Rings, you had a heart to heart with a daughter, there’s a super pile of laundry over there and the dishes, do you want to do those instead?  No.   You could be exercising.  The Drill Sergeant lists as many unpleasant tasks as she can imagine to show me that writing isn’t just something I do to create, it’s something I do to avoid as well. 

I think about why I became an English Major, and one of the reasons, was a hurt, and recently, it came to me that I should forgive that hurt, and I did.  However, I didn’t realize until I let go of that hurt, how much of what I write and why I write, was part of trying to prove something or pile up something to bury rather than forgive that hurt.  My brother talked to me about being more vulnerable in my writing. I sat there thinking, I don’t want to be, or rather, I didn’t think I needed to be.   But maybe, that unwillingness was part of the damn, or not wanting to take my brother’s suggestion seriously. (Also a possibility).   I went back to the “I’m content.”  What it meant was, I’d plateaued.  I’d need to work harder. 

Drill Sergeant is pumping her fist.  “You’ve made it to 600.  Push!”  and no more cheapy gimmicks like my pushing the word count, just write Sherry.  Write.  

This year, I resolve to submit a piece to three places each week.  I resolve to finish writing all three books.  I also resolve to return to the rosary, and finish it each day, even if it takes me to the next day.  (Stops to finish yesterday’s rosary).  It is only when I complete the last Hail Mary, that I recognize I did the Glorious mysteries, and wonder if I should have done the Joyful. I remember, that’s today’s job.   My days and nights and weeks are a mess, and tomorrow will be rough.  Tomorrow will be Tuesday, tomorrow they go back to school and the schedule starts back up full throttle.  Will goes back tomorrow.  Mom goes back Thursday.  Bonn goes back Saturday, and Marta, the Saturday after that.  Peter has an S.A.T. in the following week.  I can feel the month charging forward even as I hold onto these last precious still minutes. 

Writing is a luxury. It is also leisure. It is a way I waste time, both with my own company and God and others.  It is a way I spend time.  There are a thousand productive things I could be doing.  I am here spilling words, for the joy of figuring out what the next word will be.   Tomorrow I will do it again for the same reason. 

My daughter comes in the room to ask for help with a math program she’s playing.  She wants me to give her the right answer.  “What’s the question?”  I ask.  When she gives me the parameters, I go to check the program.  She’s misunderstood the problem, and the answer she’s given but won’t give is correct.  Writing works the same way.  It isn’t the need to be more vulnerable, but to keep allowing for vulnerability.  The intimacy of writing is in the moment, not in secrets, but in shared feeling.   Creating a sense in the reader of what I think as I think it and the why of it, allows the reader to run down the rabbit holes with me to discover what I find as I play with these words and turn them over to make a new puzzle each time.  Triumphant music plays on my daughter’s video game as she finishes the section on fractions, and I steal a glance at my word count.  I’m over one thousand and I’ve figured out, all these words, each day, they’re puzzle pieces of the bigger picture.  One day, it will all fit together, or at least make more sense as a composite.   

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If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!