Thursday, February 27, 2020

Letting God Tear the Sin Away...

The National Catholic Register ran a piece of mine from 2019.  Here's a link to the post, What To GIve Up For These 40 Days.   I know why I need Lent. I do not suffer well. I don't fast well. I don't forbear well. Everything when I know I'm supposed to be striving for holiness, seems to somehow vex more.  Prayer is harder, patience is harder, and forbearance?  Ugh.   So I'm going to go force myself to pray...until I'm no longer resisting praying. 

It's rather like doing the chore until you no longer chafe at the task itself.   I can tell you, I'm not humble enough...I'm still struggling and acutely aware of my own desire to do my own will.   I should be very grateful, and I keep finding out much to my disappointment and embarrasment in me, I'm not, because the desert is unpleasant and hot and sticky and annoying and full of scratchy things. 

Asland must tear away Eustance's Dragon skin, and to do so he tears through to the real Eustance with his claws.  It's a brilliant example of how much we cling to sin, and how much we allow it to define us if I think about it. It's disturbing as well, because those claws, like those nails, hurt.   Yet we know God is delighted every time we let Him close enough to pull at the sins we cling to, like a child opening the wrapping, He's dying to get to the present, to the gift of us. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

On the not so Blessed Weakness of Jean Vanier

If you're not part of the Catholic blogosphere, or don't follow things that affect Special Needs news, you man not know about the summary report from L'Arche concerning its founder, Jean Vanier. He created communities known as L'Arche, in which people who have special needs, live in community.   I've read his book, A Blessed Weakness, and interviewed Marie-Helene Matthieu, who worked with him, and later created an organization, "Faith and Light" which organizes pilgrimages for families that require special assistance. 

So this scandal hit me on a personal and professional level. I'm a former Special Educator, and a mom to a kid who has special needs. I want places like L'Arche to be everywhere, so that my son and other kids like my son, will have a place they can call home if they one day need to call a place home that isn't with us.   When founders (and both Vanier and Fr. Phillipe were found guilty of misconduct with women who worked with them) are found to have looked the other way at each other's abuses of power, one has to wonder, what else might have been not scrutinized for the sake of worldly success? 
I do not want such places destroyed by the sins of some, but I do not want sins cloaked over either.  Ergo, I do not know what one can do except pray and continue to examine closely what was done when.   As a result, I wrote a piece in the moment, after reading the report.  The Register picked it up, and I feel nothing but sad.   Pray for all the souls affected, and that none who lived in the community were spiritually or physically or emotionally injured by anyone, so that the good created can continue.  Here's the link. 

It is a Ponderous Chain.

P.S. Attention world! I would like to stop being able to use scandal as a hashtag. Thank you.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

This was a Nice Surprise

Last week, I thought, that's it, I'm done. No one is taking my articles.  I should just write for my own whatever, and stop thinking that someone is going to read this. I even prepared to shut down my blog.   Since then, I've had three pieces run, one request for a contribution, and this: 

Ways to Make This Lent A Feast of Virtue. over at the Catholic Standard. 

Needless to say, I'm going to go do an inventory, and get ready for Lent, and maybe drop by the chapel and say, "Thank you." 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

And yet again...not that I'm complaining...

Here's my latest over at the Register. I've submitted some other pieces, but they seem to like my lighter fare.  Here's an adaptation of an older piece I've written, I Don't Know How You Do it.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Of Course...

I decide to take a break from Blogging and what happensular basis.  In the meantime, enjoy this break from the fasting of my Blog: Ten Things I Learned from 26 Years of Mothering.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Taking a Break

I keep coming back to where I started.  This blog began as a mommy blog, back when blogging was a thing. 

It became a soap box for my thinking, and later, I pulled away from writing about my kids because they weren't kids anymore. Being teenagers, they deserved not to have an internet microscope on their growing up. 

However, that left me with what to do. The blog became a warehouse for links to places that daned to publish me. 

When that dried up, it left me with the what now?  I don't know what the what now is. I've been flailing at writing for a few weeks, with little to show for it; no stories, no light moments, nothing that sparkled like it used to. 

I tried reading, I tried listening to podcasts. I tried writing lists. I tried revising old posts.  Still, all that seemed to be left internally was an unnatural silence. 

At a book signing of a friend of mine, the author asked me, "Hey, have anything on the fire right now?" and the answer was "No." I don't.  There's no idea at the front of my head, the back of my head, or within walking distance of my brain.  I've tried rest. I've tried writing prompts.  I even watched the primaries. 

With my funny bone AWOL, and my writing muse presumably on vacation with it, the blog serves little purpose.  So I'm taking a Sablogtical.  I'm still writing things, (they're all in drafts), every day to keep the writing muscles moving if only from memory.   Hoping to be back for Ash Wednesday. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Hidden Power of Words

 For the past sixteen years, I've written something, anything, almost every day. I tend to fire and forget, running off to the next shiny thought.  Over time, I formed word habits which still both inspire and constrict my writing style.  When the blogosphere first arrived, wild and woolly, one could write what one thought without fear of great censure. 

Now, the atmosphere of the internet being what it is, writing an opinion involves being willing to endure the rage of those who disagree, and since there are always those who will disagree, the rage mob is ever present.  The terms thrown out when one expresses an opinion are often damaging and cruel.   It makes writing much harder, with a much higher cost to speaking truth. 

We don't realize the power of words until we stop being able to use them, because they hold so much power. 

This past week, I began reading a book for review.  I can't review it.  The writing uses passive voice. The author uses I and refers to events and books and thoughts without showing the events, books and thoughts.  I kept looking for the meat.  As of yet, while I see a story line, plot and even an outline of suggestions, I do not see the flesh of the work, only the faintest of sketches.

Here's the rub.
If I review it well, I will be lying.   So the book sits and I fumble through it, hoping it gets better, wondering if I need to reread it to be sure I'm seeing what I'm seeing.  If I'm honest, I know, I'm seeing what I see. 

However I know what it takes, how hard it is to craft a book, and so I know even if I don't see the blood in the lines, there is a person out there who worked to create this work for others and willed only the good of others with it.  To say it needs to be revised and rewritten would be a severe kindness, the kind best delivered face to face and not over the internet or in review columns. 

So I sit here groping for the kindest of words because I know the impact. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Impact of A Super Immodest Proposal

After watching a few minutes of this year's Superbowl Halftime Show, I've come to understand why the Victoria's Secret Super Model Half Time Show cancelled.

It was simply not lude or crude or provocative enough.

Reporters at "Chocolate For Your Brain!" Research Division tracked down former models of the once scandalous scantily clad entertainment show.  They agreed to discuss their concerns provided we didn't reveal their identities.

"When the show got canceled, I read all the reasoning and thought, maybe they're right. I should have some standards."  She sobbed over the phone. "Then I saw the show at this year's Superbowl and wondered why anyone ever objected to our strutting down a cat walk.  At least you knew before you turned on the television channel, you were choosing to watch women in lingerie. No one thought that kids should watch our show.  We weren't advertising someone who stared in Zootopia as a headliner."

Another former bikini model explained, "When the "Me too" movement took full force, I decided it was time for "me too," to take back my dignity. I thought perhaps now, it would be different.  We stopped because we didn't want to be exposed or exploited."  She added wryly, "Not sure there's much left to expose or exploit."

But it wasn't just those from the half-time show who felt the impact.
Via email, several former models from the Playboy talked about how they now understood how uncomfortable their shows made others.

"There's always a new level of ick or low." one wrote, "and whenever we lower the bar and increase the ick, the next generation has to scrape lower to make an impact. But, whenever anyone objects, everyone else views the objecter as essentially clutching at her pearls because someone flashed an ankle." 

In related news, Paul Rubens announced he's hired a lawyer to get his record expunged and his kid show reinstated.  "Public indecency?  Please. I wasn't trying to be on camera."  he scoffed.

ABC executives don't think he has a case though. Lawyers for the network explained, citing the highest value with respect to sex held in the nation."Everyone who watched the Superbowl, by not changing the channel, consented. They waived their rights to not see everything when they turned on the television.   Besides, what haven't people seen these days?  I mean, the President said to grab 'em it's empowering for women to do it themselves. I think, it's the beginning of a new age, where people can express themselves howsoever they want.  Remember, the key rule to good society is, don't judge."

Word must have traveled fast, as the following leads showed up on Chocolate For Your Brain's Newtips wire.

Jeffery Epstein came back from the dead and said, "I'm just an outlier today.  Tomorrow, I'll be the trend setter."

Hooters announced it's creating a kid menu and a happy meal, complete with a pole dancing Barbie knock off.

Finally, Anciet Greek Gods Bacchus and Pan announced plans for a reinstitution of their rites of Spring.  "We're calling it the Pagan Bachanalia Comeback Tour! There will be everything! Can't wait. We're even using Shakira's song "Try Everything," you know, from Zootopia? As the motto."

Word has it, they reached out to see if the execs for Superbowl LV were interested.  Off the record, the executives assisstant shook her head, "It's been done.  We're looking for someone who can really push the envelope." 

Reporters for Chocolate for Your Brain stopped investigating and went to buy stock in Eye Bleach. 


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!